Volume 11 (2013)
Volume 10 (2012)
Volume 9 (2011)
Most Downloaded Articles
- If I Could Hold a Seminar for Political Journalists… by Fiorina, Morris P.
- If Everyone Votes Their Party, Why Do Presidential Election Outcomes Vary So Much? by Shaw, Daron
- Independent Leaners as Policy Partisans: An Examination of Party Identification and Policy Views by Magleby, David B. and Nelson, Candice
- Delegation, Control, and the Study of Public Bureaucracy by Moe, Terry M.
- The Disappearing--but Still Important--Swing Voter by Mayer, William G.
A Brief Ascendency: American Labor After 1945
Citation Information: The Forum. Volume 10, Issue 1, Pages –, ISSN (Online) 1540-8884, DOI: 10.1515/1540-8884.1491, May 2012
- Published Online:
In 1945, American labor unions optimistically expected considerable growth in the coming decades. The New Deal policies continued their influence, and organized labor achieved its highest density rating (35 percent) ever recorded in the United States. By the mid-1950s, however, that figure began to decline, slowly at first and then, after 1970, swiftly. At the close of 2011, it had fallen to 11.8 percent. The cause of this reduction was not simply employer opposition, although that did occur. Rather, the American working class itself underwent a political and sociological sea change, propelled by southern migration of whites and blacks into the industrial North, sharp changes in political attitudes during and after the 1960s, and the economic transformation of the American and global economy that began in the 1970s. Some of these changes were beyond the scope of organized labor’s ability to alter; regarding others, labor proved to be slow, even hesitant, in its response. One consequence was the resurgence of a sharply conservative political vision among American working people that had a powerful impact on national elections and the policy choices followed.