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The Decline in Swedish Union Density since 2007

Kjellberg, Anders LU (2011) In Nordic Journal of Working Life Studies 1(1). p.67-93
Abstract
Union density remains very high in Sweden. The significantly raised fees for union unemployment funds in January 2007 were followed by an unprecedented decline in the number of union members in modern Swedish history. In the course of two years union density dropped by 6 percentage points: from 77% in 2006 to 71% in 2008. As a result, the density of employers’ associations today is much higher than union density. The article below describes and analyzes union decline among different groups of workers and why it was not difficult to foresee this development when the center-right government sharply raised membership contributions to finance the state-subsidized Swedish unemployment insurance. From July 2008 the government more closely linked... (More)
Union density remains very high in Sweden. The significantly raised fees for union unemployment funds in January 2007 were followed by an unprecedented decline in the number of union members in modern Swedish history. In the course of two years union density dropped by 6 percentage points: from 77% in 2006 to 71% in 2008. As a result, the density of employers’ associations today is much higher than union density. The article below describes and analyzes union decline among different groups of workers and why it was not difficult to foresee this development when the center-right government sharply raised membership contributions to finance the state-subsidized Swedish unemployment insurance. From July 2008 the government more closely linked fund fees to the unemployment rate for each fund, thus differentiating fund fees between different groups of employees. Since the subsequent economic crisis hit private sector blue-collar workers harder than other employees, the differentiation of fees was further widened. As a consequence, total union fees (including fund fees) also varied more by time and between different categories of workers, which in turn was reflected in the development of union density. From 2006 to 2010 blue-collar density fell by 8 percentage points compared to the 4-point decline among white-collar workers. In contrast to the depression of the 1990s, union density did not increase when unemployment increased rapidly from 2008 to 2009. The article also discusses why the government failed to achieve its main goal of changing the financing system of unemployment insurance: to influence wage formation. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
unemployment insurance, unemployment funds, trade unions, collective agreements, employers’ associations, union membership., union density, union decline, fackförening, trade union member, LO, TCO, Saco
in
Nordic Journal of Working Life Studies
volume
1
issue
1
pages
27 pages
publisher
Nordic Journal of Working Life Studies
ISSN
2245-0157
project
Union Density in a Global Perspective
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
85260eb8-edea-494c-bfec-8a9e7b71f29d (old id 1964092)
alternative location
http://ej.lib.cbs.dk/index.php/nordicwl/article/viewFile/3313/3509
date added to LUP
2011-08-17 15:00:54
date last changed
2017-03-31 09:17:45
@article{85260eb8-edea-494c-bfec-8a9e7b71f29d,
  abstract     = {Union density remains very high in Sweden. The significantly raised fees for union unemployment funds in January 2007 were followed by an unprecedented decline in the number of union members in modern Swedish history. In the course of two years union density dropped by 6 percentage points: from 77% in 2006 to 71% in 2008. As a result, the density of employers’ associations today is much higher than union density. The article below describes and analyzes union decline among different groups of workers and why it was not difficult to foresee this development when the center-right government sharply raised membership contributions to finance the state-subsidized Swedish unemployment insurance. From July 2008 the government more closely linked fund fees to the unemployment rate for each fund, thus differentiating fund fees between different groups of employees. Since the subsequent economic crisis hit private sector blue-collar workers harder than other employees, the differentiation of fees was further widened. As a consequence, total union fees (including fund fees) also varied more by time and between different categories of workers, which in turn was reflected in the development of union density. From 2006 to 2010 blue-collar density fell by 8 percentage points compared to the 4-point decline among white-collar workers. In contrast to the depression of the 1990s, union density did not increase when unemployment increased rapidly from 2008 to 2009. The article also discusses why the government failed to achieve its main goal of changing the financing system of unemployment insurance: to influence wage formation.},
  author       = {Kjellberg, Anders},
  issn         = {2245-0157},
  keyword      = {unemployment insurance,unemployment funds,trade unions,collective agreements,employers’ associations,union membership.,union density,union decline,fackförening,trade union member,LO,TCO,Saco},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {67--93},
  publisher    = {Nordic Journal of Working Life Studies},
  series       = {Nordic Journal of Working Life Studies},
  title        = {The Decline in Swedish Union Density since 2007},
  volume       = {1},
  year         = {2011},
}