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Book Chapter

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American labor unions have collapsed. Having once bargained for more than a third of American workers, unions now represent only about 6 percent of the private sector workforce. In the wake of new statutory and constitutional limitations, their presence in the public sector is shrinking as well. As unions have declined, the United States has lost a key equalizing institution in politics and the economy, INdeed, economic inequality is at its highest point since the Gilded Age, when unionization rates were similarly low. With the weakening of unions, the United States has also lost a key mechanism for protecting against employer domination and providing workers a voice on the job. Employment law, which protects employees on an individual basis irrespective of unionization, has not filled the void.