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Never Say Never? Uncovering the Never-Unionized in the United States

  • Jonathan E. Booth
  • John W. Budd
  • Kristen M. Munday

This paper analyses individuals who never hold a unionized job and are never represented by a union ('never-unionized'). Using 21 waves of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 data to track individuals starting at age 15 or 16, we show that by the time workers are 40 or 41 years old, one-third of them are never-unionized, and a convex never-unionization trajectory suggests that most of them will remain never-unionized. An analysis of the demographic and labour market characteristics of the never-unionized further suggests two types of never-unionized workers - those who lack opportunities for obtaining unionized jobs and those who lack the desire to obtain unionized jobs. Copyright (c) Blackwell Publishing Ltd/London School of Economics 2010.

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File URL: http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1467-8543.2009.00765.x
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Article provided by London School of Economics in its journal British Journal of Industrial Relations.

Volume (Year): 48 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 (03)
Pages: 26-52

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Handle: RePEc:bla:brjirl:v:48:y:2010:i:1:p:26-52
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  1. Alex Bryson & Rafael Gomez & Morley Gunderson & Noah Meltz, 2002. "Youth-adult differences in the demand for unionization: are American, British and Canadian workers all that different?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 4956, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  2. Jennifer Hunt, 1992. "The Effect of Unemployment Compensation on Unemployment Duration in Germany," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 50, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  3. Alex Bryson & Rafael Gomez, 2003. "Why have workers stopped joining unions?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20022, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  4. Blanden, Jo & Stephen Machin, 2003. "Cross-Generation Correlations of Union Status for Young People in Britain," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2003 24, Royal Economic Society.
  5. Richard B. Freeman, 1978. "Unionism and the Dispersion of Wages," NBER Working Papers 0248, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Joseph R. Antos & Mark Chandler & Wesley Mellow, 1980. "Sex differences in union membership," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 33(2), pages 162-169, January.
  7. James T. Bennett & Bruce E. Kaufman, 2004. "What Do Unions Do?: A Twenty-Year Perspective," Journal of Labor Research, Transaction Publishers, vol. 25(3), pages 339-350, July.
  8. Anderson, Patricia M, 1992. "Time-Varying Effects of Recall Expectation, a Reemployment Bonus, and Job Counseling on Unemployment Durations," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 10(1), pages 99-115, January.
  9. Rafael Gomez & Morley Gunderson & Noah Meltz, 2002. "Comparing Youth and Adult Desire for Unionization in Canada," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 40(3), pages 542-519, 09.
  10. Alison L. Booth & Marco Francesconi & Carlos Garcia-Serrano, 1999. "Job tenure and job mobility in Britain," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 53(1), pages 43-70, October.
  11. Farber, Henry S & Saks, Daniel H, 1980. "Why Workers Want Unions: The Role of Relative Wages and Job Characteristics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(2), pages 349-69, April.
  12. David G. Blanchflower, 2007. "International Patterns of Union Membership," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 45(1), pages 1-28, 03.
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