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Unionization of Professional and Technical Workers

Unionization of Professional and Technical Workers

The Labor Market and Institutional Transformation

(p.179) 5 Unionization of Professional and Technical Workers
Emerging Labor Market Institutions for the Twenty-First Century
Richard W. HurdJohn Bunge
University of Chicago Press

Changes in control structures and corporate hierarchies, combined with rapid advances in information technology, are creating intense pressure in labor markets for many professional and technical occupations in the United States. Employers face increased incentives to monitor job content while workers experience heightened anxiety about potential obsolescence. These influences are reinforced by developments in the political economy as greater reliance is placed on unrestrained market forces. This chapter explores the attitudes of professional and technical workers toward their jobs and labor market institutions in search of information relevant to institutional transformation. Although primary attention is devoted to unions of white-collar workers, professional associations play an essential role in these markets and serve as an apt source of institutional comparison. The chapter describes the character and functions of professional associations and reflects on the decline of labor unions in the private sector. It presents evidence regarding the type of labor market institution preferred by professional and technical workers.

Keywords:   technical workers, white-collar workers, professional associations, labor market institutions, labor unions, United States, labor markets, private sector

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