UCLA study shows unions continue to take a beating in post-recession climate

September 5, 2011

The Great Recession and ensuing job crisis continue to take a toll on union membership, according to UCLA’s annual report on organized labor.

From July 1, 2010, to June 30, 2011, unionization rates remained essentially flat in Los Angeles but fell close to a percentage point in California and tumbled to historic lows nationwide, researchers from the university’s Institute for Research on Labor and Employment (IRLE) found.

“The trend is bad for unions, it’s bad for workers and, because it’s a reflection of a jobless recovery, it’s bad for the country,” said Chris Tilly, director of the IRLE and a professor of urban planning at UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs.

“The State of the Unions in 2011: A Profile of Union Membership in Los Angeles, California and the Nation,” publishes on Labor Day, Sept. 5.

The report is based on an analysis of the U.S. Current Population Survey, conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau. The IRLE report tracks year-to-year changes in unionization for the nation, California and the Los Angeles metropolitan area, including Santa Ana, Riverside, Long Beach, Thousand Oaks, Ventura, San Bernardino, Oxnard and Ontario.

The proportion of the workforce that is unionized in the Los Angeles metro area now stands at 16.4 percent, down from 16.5 percent last year, a drop that did not prove to be statistically significant. Even with its lackluster 2010


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