Union Membership and Perceived Job Insecurity: Thirty Years of Evidence from the American General Social Survey
Using the American General Social Survey covering the period 1978–2008, the authors investigate the link between union membership and perceived job insecurity. They find that overall, union members are 3.5 percentage points more likely than non–union members to feel insecure about their current jobs as well as future job prospects, especially during recessionary periods. This result is twice that in the manufacturing sector. By contrast, there is virtually no union effect on job insecurity in transportation, communication, and other services sectors. The use of instrumental-variables estimation methods and attitudinal proxy variables indicates that the positive correlation between union membership and perceived job insecurity is not due to self-selection, nor it is related to the decline of unionism in the United States.