Declining youth membership : the views of union officials

Esders, Linda P., Bailey, Janis, & McDonald, Paula K. (2011) Declining youth membership : the views of union officials. In Price, Robin A., McDonald, Paula K., Bailey, Janis, & Pini, Barbara (Eds.) Young People and Work. Ashgate, Surrey, pp. 263-281.

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Across the industrialized west there has been a sharp decline in union membership (Frege and Kelly2003, Peetz 2002). Even more alarming are the lower unionization rates of young people and the steeper decline in these rates compared to older workers (Serrano and Waddington 2000). At the same time increasing numbers of young people still at school are participating in the labour market. There have been a number of explorations internationally of young people's union membership, but most either track membership decline over time, comparing adult and youth union density (Blanden and Machin 2003, Bryson et al. 2005, Haynes, Vowles and Boxall 2005, Canny 2002, OECD 2006), explore the general experience of young people in the labour market (for example, Lizen, Bolton and Pole 1999) or examine young people's view of unions (for example, Bulbeck 2008). This chapter however takes a different approach, exploring union officials' constructions of 'the problem' of low union density amongst youth. While the data in this study was obtained from Australia, the Australian context has strong similarities with those in other industrialized economies, not least because globalization has meant the spread of neo-liberal industrial relations (IR) policies and structures. Assuming that unions have choices open to them as to how they recruit and retain young people, it is important to analyse officials' construction of 'the problem', as this affects union strategizing and action.

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ID Code: 47548
Item Type: Book Chapter
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Union Youth Membership, Union Officials, Labour Market, Unions
ISBN: 9781409422365
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT (150300) > Industrial Relations (150306)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > Schools > School of Management
Deposited On: 08 Dec 2011 22:28
Last Modified: 17 Oct 2015 16:29

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