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Open Access Publications from the University of California

California Labor Relations: Background and Developments through Mid-2002


This chapter examines the current state of union-management relations in California, based on records of public agencies and related data. A review of patterns of unionization in the state shows that two-thirds of the state's union-represented workers are in the Los Angeles and San Francisco metropolitan areas, although Sacramento has a higher unionization rate. As is the case nationally, California's public sector is highly unionized, with approximately half the workforce covered by union contracts. In the private sector, union-represented workers are found in a variety of occupations and industries. Some work in manufacturing, as the common stereotype would indicate, but large concentrations are also found in construction, grocery and food warehouses, and health care. Some of the most dramatic organizing successes in the state during recent years have involved low-wage immigrant workers, such as janitors and home health care workers. The chapter reviews recent developments in collective bargaining in the state in some detail, examining recent contract settlements and other data.

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