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Research on unionization and economic performance-mostly from the United States but also from Canada, Japan, and Britain-concludes that, on balance, unions tend to increase wages but not productivity, reduce profitability, reduce investment in physical capital and R&D, and, most importantly, lower the rate of employment growth. Research by the CRI’s Center for Economic Policy and Analysis confirms that increased unionization decreases employment growth among states and that employment grows faster in states that prohibit “closed shops.”

 

Source: Center for Economic Policy and Analysis, BEA data

 

Source: Center for Economic Policy and Analysis, BEA data

Union membership peaked in the U.S. in the early 1950s at slightly over 28% of all workers and today 12.4% of all workers are members of unions. The decline in union membership has been retarded by growth in government jobs. Even though the percent of government workers belonging to unions has just risen modestly, over the past 25 years the number of private sector union members has fallen 27% while the number of public sector union members has jumped by 25%. The percent of workers who are union members has been dropping in every industry except healthcare and government. Today, Delaware has a slightly higher percentage of workers in unions than the nation.