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Is the Decline in the Number of Union Workers Due to Public Policy The existence of labor unions has played a large role in the economy of the United States and in the way in which businesses structure the wages and benefits of their employees Labor unions began back in the late eighteenth century with industries such as shoemaking and carpentry However in the twentieth and the beginning of the twenty-first century the United States has seen a dramatic growth and then decline in the number or workers who chose to be members of labor unions Government legislation has played a role during this period especially in the expansion of unions in the 1930s through the 1950s However the decline in the number of union workers which began in the mid-70s can be attributed to much more than public policy such as the attitude of workers toward unions the movement of industry to the South the state of the national economy and increased domestic and foreign competition The level of union membership that occurs can be analyzed through a demand and supply analysis The demand curve shows how many union services people wish to have at a given price while the supply side displays the price of membership versus the amount of services the unions are willing to provide The demand curve is inversely related to price while the supply side of union membership increases as the cost rises The equilibrium price and quantity would simply be where these two curves intersect This point shows the quantity of services that are purchased and at what price Hotchkiss 578 585 Demand for union services has many factors related to the costs versus the benefits Normally the cost of union membership will be limited to the fee to join the membership dues and the lost wages in the event of a strike Hotchkiss 578 These costs are offset by the perceived benefits of the union Some benefits
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