Based on the trends in labor, what do you think is the future of labor unions in the United States?
I would say that the future of labor in the United States is very grim. Some sectors will continue to have unions, but they will be much rarer than they were in the past.
The private sector is likely to see unionization decline still further. Unionization has declined over the years largely because of globalization and competition. The days when American firms could afford to give really lucrative contracts to the unions are gone because those firms have to compete with firms in other countries that have not given such generous contracts to their unions. We have seen this most notably in the car industry in the past few years. Since globalization is not going to stop, American private sector unions will continue to shrink.
There will still be unions in the public sector, particularly in more liberal states. However, we have seen pressure on these unions as well. People are starting to think poorly of public workers’ unions such as teachers’ unions. This has resulted in things like the governor of Wisconsin’s successful efforts to battle public sector unions.
With our economy having to endure more competition, and with our government piling up debt, unionization is looking less sustainable and unions will continue to decline.