Conventional wisdom says that globalization and technological changes are a key driver to declining rates of unionization in industrialized countries. A new report, “Politics Matter: Changes in Unionization Rates in Rich Countries, 1960-2010,” released by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) shows that conventional wisdom is wrong and that national politics are a much more important factor.
As noted in the above video, falling levels of unionization are directly related to rising income inequality. Of the 21 countries included in the CEPR study, the United States has the lowest rate of union coverage (the percentage of citizens covered by collective bargaining contracts) at 13 percent. A few countries have lower rates of union membership, but they all have higher rates of coverage than the U.S. Only Japan and New Zealand join the U.S. at coverage rates under 30 percent. Nearly half of the countries included in the study had coverage rates over 74 percent, led by Austria at 99 percent.
More details on the full report: