Home Back Issues March 2009 Oregon unions gain members, face uncertain future growth

Oregon unions gain members, face uncertain future growth

| Print |  Email
Archives - March 2009
Sunday, March 01, 2009

STATEWIDE In late January, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released national data that showed unions, despite the economy, grew for the second year in a row in 2008. Membership increased from 12.1% to 12.4%; the number of union and non-union members covered by a collective bargaining agreement increased from 13.3% to 13.7%.


In Oregon the growth rate was bigger. The number of workers covered by collective bargaining agreements jumped from 14.7% of the workforce in 2006 to 17.4% in 2008, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers. At the end of last year, 272,000 workers, or 17.4% of the state's workforce, were either union members or fell under a collective bargaining umbrella.

Those numbers appear impressive. However, they may not represent the entire labor picture in Oregon. Both Don McIntosh, the associate editor at Portland-based Northwest Labor Press, and Shauna Ballo, the spokesperson for Service Employees International Union Local 49, say the growth rates should be taken with a grain of salt. State-by-state data is extrapolated from a national survey of about 60,000 households, not from state-specific data.

Nor do the BLS numbers show what type of growth that occured. Ballo points out how SEIU 49's biggest increase in membership came from workers in one single industry forming a union, not from growth across multiple sectors.

The economy will provide even more complications for 2009 union-membership numbers. Some indicators look good; many more look bad. Public agencies, the health care industry and construction firms working on major public works projects haven't seen layoffs, which bodes well for union members in those sectors.

But McIntosh points out that sectors that traditionally have been union strongholds, like manufacturing, are in serious decline.

Even intangibles like employees' fears about the economy and their jobs will have an effect.

"Everybody is getting hit right now," Ballo says.

"You're going to see people who say, 'Wow, joining a union would be a good idea, but if I'm seen talking to the people who are organizing, I'm going to get fired.'"       ABRAHAM HYATT


Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

More Articles

Q&A: David Lively of Organically Grown Co.

News
Tuesday, July 01, 2014
OGCLogoBY HANNAH WALLACE | OB BLOGGER

Demand for organic food continues to soar: Last year, sales of organic food rose to $32.3 billion — up 10% from 2012. In Oregon, organic produce wholesaler Organically Grown Co. has been championing organic growing methods for four decades.


Read more...

The business of running a food cart

News
Thursday, June 05, 2014
OBM1BY HANNAH WALLACE | OB BLOGGER

What does it take to launch and run one of these mobile food businesses?  


Read more...

Who said we should sell in May?

Contributed Blogs
Friday, July 18, 2014
BullMarketBY JASON NORRIS | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

Back in May, we shared a common Wall Street quote about investing, “Sell in May and go away.” Fast forward to July and the most common question we have been getting from clients is, “When is the market pullback going to occur?”


Read more...

Attack of the Robin Sages

Contributed Blogs
Monday, July 07, 2014
070714 thumb linkedinfakesBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

Named after the 2010 experiment by Thomas Ryan, "Robin Sages" are fake social media profiles designed to encourage linking and divulging valuable information.


Read more...

Updated: Disrupting innovation

News
Tuesday, July 08, 2014
070814 thumb disputive-innovationBY LINDA BAKER  | OB EDITOR

The New Yorker recently published a sharply worded critique of “disruptive innovation,” one of the most widely cited theories in the business world today. The article raises questions about the descriptive value of disruption and innovation  — whether the terms are mere buzzwords or actually explain today's extraordinarily complex and fast changing business environment. 

Update: We caught up with Portland's Thomas Thurston, who shared his data driven take on the disruption controversy.


Read more...

Portland: Where young people go to work?

News
Friday, June 06, 2014
UntitledBY KATIE AUSBURGER | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

How to build a hipster-friendly work environment.


Read more...

Trends in business succession

News
Thursday, July 03, 2014
TrendsBY TED AUSTIN & MIKE BAELE | GUEST CONTRIBUTORS

The Office of Economic Analysis announced that Oregon is currently enjoying the strongest job growth since 2006. While this resurgence has been welcome, the lingering effects of the 2008 “Great Recession” continues to affect Oregon businesses, especially with regard to estate planning and business succession.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS