Document Type

Research Paper


Labor unions have played an important part in shaping the workforce as we know it since the passing of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) in 1935. However, whether they are still perceived as essential in today’s economy is still questioned as union favorability ratings have declined from 35% to 7% over a thirty year span. A survey questionnaire was distributed to a non-random sample (N = 50) to ascertain their attitudes and perceptions on labor unions. Sixty-seven percent of respondents believe that unions should be in every state with 60% of those in a non- Right to Work state in favor of unionizing. Representation was favored for an apparent need for further representation (60%) and 40% seeking an increase in pay. Half of those surveyed feel labor unions are perceived as good for the economy and 43% felt that members of unions earned more on average than laborers in a comparable job who did not belong to a union. Review of related literature and research suggests that the best hope at reviving U.S. union participation is to look toward union expansion among white collar workers and the re-definition of what the words “labor” and “union” truly mean.

Citation/Publisher Attribution

Koenig, L. (2012). Laboring forward: The future of labor unions. Johnson & Wales University, Providence, RI.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.