Federalism, Government Liberalism, and Union Weakness in America

David Darmofal, Nathan J. Kelly, Christopher Witko, Sarah Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Unlike most other countries, in the United States, subnational governments (states) have substantial authority over collective bargaining and union organization laws. Because states compete for business investment and union (dis)organization likely has spillover effects beyond state borders, weak unions in one state may affect union organization in other states. We examine how union decline in one state is associated with union decline in neighboring states, and whether the presence of prounion (left-leaning) governments may limit the spread of union decline. Examining a period of major union decline (1983–2014), we find that union weakness in one state is associated with union weakness in nearby states. We observe that Democratic power in Congress is associated with higher unionization rates, but that liberal state governments have been relatively powerless to stop union decline in this period. These findings have important implications for understanding the historical and contemporary weakness of American unions and for the future of union strength in the United States.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalState Politics and Policy Quarterly
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019

Fingerprint

federalism
liberalism
organization
bargaining
Law
Federalism
Liberalism
Government

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Political Science and International Relations

Cite this

@article{8b3e2254888d4f2aae3f4f926d60ed6f,
title = "Federalism, Government Liberalism, and Union Weakness in America",
abstract = "Unlike most other countries, in the United States, subnational governments (states) have substantial authority over collective bargaining and union organization laws. Because states compete for business investment and union (dis)organization likely has spillover effects beyond state borders, weak unions in one state may affect union organization in other states. We examine how union decline in one state is associated with union decline in neighboring states, and whether the presence of prounion (left-leaning) governments may limit the spread of union decline. Examining a period of major union decline (1983–2014), we find that union weakness in one state is associated with union weakness in nearby states. We observe that Democratic power in Congress is associated with higher unionization rates, but that liberal state governments have been relatively powerless to stop union decline in this period. These findings have important implications for understanding the historical and contemporary weakness of American unions and for the future of union strength in the United States.",
author = "David Darmofal and Kelly, {Nathan J.} and Christopher Witko and Sarah Young",
year = "2019",
month = "1",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1177/1532440019851806",
language = "English (US)",
journal = "State Politics and Policy Quarterly",
issn = "1532-4400",
publisher = "University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign",

}

Federalism, Government Liberalism, and Union Weakness in America. / Darmofal, David; Kelly, Nathan J.; Witko, Christopher; Young, Sarah.

In: State Politics and Policy Quarterly, 01.01.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Federalism, Government Liberalism, and Union Weakness in America

AU - Darmofal, David

AU - Kelly, Nathan J.

AU - Witko, Christopher

AU - Young, Sarah

PY - 2019/1/1

Y1 - 2019/1/1

N2 - Unlike most other countries, in the United States, subnational governments (states) have substantial authority over collective bargaining and union organization laws. Because states compete for business investment and union (dis)organization likely has spillover effects beyond state borders, weak unions in one state may affect union organization in other states. We examine how union decline in one state is associated with union decline in neighboring states, and whether the presence of prounion (left-leaning) governments may limit the spread of union decline. Examining a period of major union decline (1983–2014), we find that union weakness in one state is associated with union weakness in nearby states. We observe that Democratic power in Congress is associated with higher unionization rates, but that liberal state governments have been relatively powerless to stop union decline in this period. These findings have important implications for understanding the historical and contemporary weakness of American unions and for the future of union strength in the United States.

AB - Unlike most other countries, in the United States, subnational governments (states) have substantial authority over collective bargaining and union organization laws. Because states compete for business investment and union (dis)organization likely has spillover effects beyond state borders, weak unions in one state may affect union organization in other states. We examine how union decline in one state is associated with union decline in neighboring states, and whether the presence of prounion (left-leaning) governments may limit the spread of union decline. Examining a period of major union decline (1983–2014), we find that union weakness in one state is associated with union weakness in nearby states. We observe that Democratic power in Congress is associated with higher unionization rates, but that liberal state governments have been relatively powerless to stop union decline in this period. These findings have important implications for understanding the historical and contemporary weakness of American unions and for the future of union strength in the United States.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85067836373&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85067836373&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1177/1532440019851806

DO - 10.1177/1532440019851806

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:85067836373

JO - State Politics and Policy Quarterly

JF - State Politics and Policy Quarterly

SN - 1532-4400

ER -