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The Future of Unions in the United States

Research in Personnel and Human Resources Management

ISBN: 978-1-80043-076-1, eISBN: 978-1-80043-075-4

ISSN: 0742-7301

Publication date: 24 July 2020


The future of unions hangs in the balance. Labor unions face enormous challenges to overcome decades of decline and diminishing power. The authors examine the current status of unions with an eye toward identifying pathways to rejuvenation. Our analysis focuses on what the authors know about the decline of unions, how its compares historically, and what avenues are available to unions to change. Pathways to growth with undoubtedly require breaking old molds, which have proven ineffective. Unions need to explore new models of representation to take advantage of a changing workforce with new employment relationships typified by the “gig economy.” The authors present an agenda for fruitful research and discuss the implications of a weakened labor movement on the well-being of society.



Hamilton, G. and Masters, M.F. (2020), "The Future of Unions in the United States", Buckley, M.R., Wheeler, A.R., Baur, J.E. and Halbesleben, J.R.B. (Ed.) Research in Personnel and Human Resources Management (Research in Personnel and Human Resources Management, Vol. 38), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 145-179.



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