Unions often blame a long-term decline in membership on labor laws that make it difficult for workers to organize and have proposed dramatic changes to those laws to improve their fortunes. For their part, employers argue that workers have little interest in unions and paying union dues. Several prominent politicians and unions have suggested an altogether different approach to resolving this argument: sectoral bargaining. Given the potential for unintended consequences, it is useful to ask which problems sectoral bargaining is meant to solve—and whether there are more targeted ways to solve them. This paper analyzes aspects of sectoral bargaining and concludes with a framework for forward-looking solutions.
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