Between Class and Market
Bruce WesternISBN: 0691010331; 9780691010335;
In the United States, less than one worker in five is currently in a labor union, while in Sweden, virtually the entire workforce is unionized. Despite compelling evidence for their positive effects, even the strongest European unions are now in retreat as some policymakers herald the U.S. model of market deregulation. These differences in union power significantly affect workers' living standards and the fortunes of national economies. What explains the enormous variation in unionization and why has thelast decade been so hostile to organized labor? Bruce Western tackles these questions in an analysis of labor union organization in eighteen capitalist democracies from 1950 to 1990. Combining insights from sociology and economics in a novel way, Westernviews unions as the joint product of market forces and political and economic institutions. The author argues that three institutional conditions are essential for union growth: strong working-class political parties, centralized...