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Establishments in this industry represent members in employment contract negotiations and provide workplace support. Major organizations include the National Education Association, Service Employees International Union, the American Federation of Teachers, and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (all based in the US), as well as the All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU), the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), and France's General Confederation of Labor (CGT).
Worldwide, trade union membership is highest in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Italy, and Ireland, according to the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development.
The US labor union industry includes about 14,500 organizations. The largest unions typically have annual revenue between $100 million and $200 million. About 11% of US workers belong to unions. The union membership rate for public-sector workers is about 35%, which is about five times higher than the rate for private-sector workers.
Business and job growth drive demand. The profitability of individual organizations depends on ability to expand membership. Large unions have stronger bargaining power and advantages in marketing and finance. Small unions can succeed by serving a local market or individuals in specialized industries or professions.
Organized labor's decline in the US over the past several decades has been driven by greater labor mobility, the flight of manufacturing jobs from the US, and Right-to-Work (RTW) and other states laws restricting the power of unions.
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