Never say never? Uncovering the never-unionized in the United States

Jonathan E. Booth, John W Budd, Kristen M. Munday

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


This paper analyses individuals who never hold a unionized job and are never represented by a union ('never-unionized'). Using 21 waves of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 data to track individuals starting at age 15 or 16, we show that by the time workers are 40 or 41 years old, one-third of them are never-unionized, and a convex never-unionization trajectory suggests that most of them will remain never-unionized. An analysis of the demographic and labour market characteristics of the never-unionized further suggests two types of never-unionized workers - those who lack opportunities for obtaining unionized jobs and those who lack the desire to obtain unionized jobs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)26-52
Number of pages27
JournalBritish Journal of Industrial Relations
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2010


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