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[Excerpt] American history reflects a long cycle of trade union decline and growth. Analysts routinely predict the death of the labor movement. (Yeselson 2012). Heralds of labor’s demise often argue that unions were needed in the past, but modem, enlightened management and the need for economic competitiveness make them obsolete. (Troy 1999). But then, workers fed up with employers’ exploitation decide to find new ways to defend themselves.

History does not repeat itself, and conditions now are not the same as those spurring the great organizing drives of the 1930s and ‘40s. Still, American workers have shown deep resourcefulness over long cycles of trade union growth, decline and regeneration. Workers’ need for “somebody to back me up” in the face of employer power never disappears. The labor movement built by workers in the United States over the past century is still a strong base for working class advances and strengthening of collective bargaining in years to come.


Suggested Citation
Compa, L. (2014). An overview of collective bargaining in the United States [Electronic version]. In J. G. Hernández (Ed.), El derecho a la negociación colectiva: Monografías de temas laborales (pp. 91-98). Seville: Consejo Andaluz de Relaciones Laborales.

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Copyright held by the author. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

The full text of El derecho a la negociación colectiva: Monografías de temas laborales can be downloaded here.