American Society of Civil Engineers

American Engineering Unions

by Hatim M. Hajj, A.M.ASCE, (Trans. Planning Engr., Harland Bartholomew & Assocs., Memphis, TN)

Engineering Issues: Journal of Professional Activities
, Vol. 99, No. 2, April 1973, pp. 213-221

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Document type: Journal Paper
Abstract: Despite recent union setbacks, the engineering profession continues to be a top priority target of union organizers. Several forces could lead to more unionization among engineers: (1) long-run relative decline of blue-collar employment; (2) rapid change in technology and the related emergence of the big employers; (3) pro-labor government policies; (4) increasing union effort and sophistication in white-collar unionization; (5) gains in negotiated wages and fringe benefits in blue-collar and unionized white-collar situations; and (6) a general trend to group identification, as opposed to individual achievement. These trends are offset by: (1) engineering unions’ inability to reconcile professionalism and unionism; (2) favorable market conditions for engineers; (3) engineers’ conception of themselves as part of management; (4) continued anti-union activity of professional societies; and (5) offers of better jobs by management. The extent of unionization among American engineers will depend upon the outcome of these competing forces.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Labor unions
Professional development