Trade union membership in European Union member states has been in decline for decades, which has many concerned about the future of workers’ rights. While existing work examines the reasons for this decline, my research shifts the focus from union density to the functions unions serve and how these functions affect and are affected by changing electoral behavior. I examine the rise of right-wing populist movements in Europe and how these movements and the challenges today’s labor unions face can be traced to the same underlying forces. I argue that, as the relevance of trade unions declines for blue-collar workers, support for right-wing movements increases. I test this claim with the help of statistical analyses of European Values Study data. I find preliminary support for my hypothesis, and suggest how this can inform our responses to the rise of populism in Europe.
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"Trade Union Trade-Offs: Unions, Voters, and the Rise of Right-Wing Populism,"
Claremont-UC Undergraduate Research Conference on the European Union:
Vol. 2017, Article 8.
Available at: http://scholarship.claremont.edu/urceu/vol2017/iss1/8