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January, 1987, Vol. 110, No. 1
Collective bargaining in 1987:
local, regional issues to set tone
About 3.1 million workers are under major collective bargaining agreements (those covering 1,000 workers or more) that are scheduled to expire or be reopened in 1987. They constitute 35 percent of the 8.8 million employees under major agreements in private industry and State and local government. Scheduled bargaining will cover 2 million private industry workers under 471 agreements, and 1.1 million State and local government workers under 312 agreements. (The U.S. Postal Service will bargain with unions representing its 600,000 employees, but Federal contracts are not included in the Bureau of Labor Statistics' major collective bargaining series.)
In private industry, bargaining activity will be comparatively light, covering about 30 percent of the 6.5 million workers under major private industry agreements. The number of workers involved (2 million) is the lowest ever in the 19 years for which such data have been compiled. This results primarily from the decline in the total number of workers under such agreementsfrom a peak of 10.8 million in 1970. About 2.5 million of the 4.3-million drop occurred during the last 5 years, part of the overall decline in union membership in private industry.
Also contributing to the low number of workers involved in bargaining this year is the operation of the bargaining cycle. In manufacturing, for example, most industries with more than 100,000 workers under major agreements (apparel, machinery, food processing, transportation equipmentaerospace and part of the automobile industryand primary metals) had heavy bargaining in 1985 and 1986 and will have light bargaining this year. The only manufacturing industry with more than 100,000 workers bargaining will be transportation equipment, primarily automobiles.
This excerpt is from an article published in the January 1987 issue of the Monthly Labor Review. The full text of the article is available in Adobe Acrobat's Portable Document Format (PDF). See How to view a PDF file for more information.
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