Publication Date

June 2008


[Excerpt] The decline in union density and collective bargaining coverage has created a representation gap that civil society organizations only partially bridge. Their offer of mutual insurance and political and legal advocacy on issues of concern to workers is no substitute for collective bargaining, a function that resides entirely within the union portfolio. Growing wage inequality is the clearest indication that representation without bargaining provides workers little protection against the power of employers and “the state.” Alliances between unions and civil society organizations may help labor reach potential members and advance workers’ non-bargaining interests.


Suggested Citation
Givan, R. K. (2008). Collective bargaining remains the linchpin of worker representation (Impact Brief #29). Ithaca, NY: School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell University.

For a more in-depth analysis, please see: Givan, R. K. (2007). Side by side we battle onward? Representing workers in contemporary America. British Journal of Industrial Relations, 45(4), 829-855.

The ILR Impact Brief series highlights the research and project based work conducted by ILR faculty that is relevant to workplace issues and public policy. The Briefs are prepared by Maralyn Edid, Senior Extension Associate, ILR School.

Required Publisher Statement
Copyright by Cornell University.