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United We Fall?

Worker interest in unions may threaten your business. How will you respond?

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This story appears in the March 2003 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

The 1990s are over. And with the collapse of the economic bubble, revelations about horrific corporate governance practices, and the layoffs of thousands of Americans, an institution that some people have long since written off as dead has been revived: the union.

In a recent survey for the AFL-CIO, for the first time in nearly two decades, the number of nonunion American workers willing to join a union has increased. "After seeing so many jobs destroyed in the recession, Americans are looking for job protection," says Jared Bernstein, senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute, a Washington, DC, think tank. (Union workers earn 32 percent more than nonunion workers.)

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