Why is bargaining in 2015 different from what it was forty years ago?

From the 1950s through the early 1980s, the U.S. auto industry was virtually 100% union. But the nonunion sector of the industry has been growing steadily since the mid-1980s, and this trend has accelerated since the year 2000. In 2003, roughly 79% of the vehicles assembled in the U.S. came from unionized plants. By last year, that had fallen to roughly 55%. The resulting loss of bargaining power has had a devastating impact on autoworkers – union and nonunion alike. Average hourly pay for autoworkers in this country peaked in 2003 (once inflation is factored in). Since then, purchasing power of an average hour’s pay has fallen more than 20%. By organizing the competition, we can set standards for the entire industry. If we fail to organize them, our competitors will be setting standards for us.


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