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Hispanics and Organized Labor in the United States, 1973 to 2007

Jake Rosenfeld and Meredith Kleykamp
American Sociological Review
Vol. 74, No. 6 (DECEMBER 2009), pp. 916-937
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27801501
Page Count: 22
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Hispanics and Organized Labor in the United States, 1973 to 2007
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Abstract

Prior research finds that minority populations in the United States secure union employment as part of the process of economic incorporation. Yet little work systematically tests whether this pattern holds for the nation's largest minority, Hispanics, during recent decades of union decline. After juxtaposing traditional labor market position theories of unionization with solidaristic accounts, we use 1973 to 2007 Current Population Survey (CPS) data to provide the most comprehensive analysis of Hispanics and organized labor in the United States to date. We disaggregate the Hispanic population by citizenship, nationality, and time since arrival to uncover subpopulation differences in the odds of union membership. Additional analyses take advantage of the CPS structure to target individuals who join a union, allowing us to test whether organized labor's much-publicized efforts to incorporate recent immigrants have resulted in detectable gains. Consistent with solidaristic accounts of labor organization, results suggest that certain Hispanic subpopulations—especially those born in the United States and immigrants who have secured citizenship—have higher unionization odds and join unions at higher rates than do U.S.-born whites, even after controlling for traditional positional accounts of labor organization. However, the large substantive effects of positional variables, such as sector, occupation, and firm size, indicate that organized labor's revival depends on more than any one group's capacity for collective action.

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