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Re-Forming CapitalismInstitutional Change in the German Political Economy$
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Wolfgang Streeck

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199573981

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199573981.001.0001

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Intermediary Organization: Declining Membership, Rising Tensions

Intermediary Organization: Declining Membership, Rising Tensions

(p.46) 3 Intermediary Organization: Declining Membership, Rising Tensions
Re-Forming Capitalism

Wolfgang Streeck

Oxford University Press

Although union membership is not directly linked with collective bargaining, collective bargaining in Germany can be associated with the decline of organized labor and capital or neocorporatism in general. Membership to such unions was not compulsory and became voluntary even in firms covered by a collective agreement. Through the years the percentages of union members in the German workforce shifted. The level of trade union membership was pushed down to less than one-fifth of the workforce in 2003. In addition, membership in employer and business associated unions has evidently declined as well. This is because firms which employ association members only are formally bound by sectoral negations unlike in the case of unions, membership in employer associations directly affects whether an employee is covered by collective agreements or not. This chapter discusses the implications of declining membership in such associations for the tensions between both small and large firms in Germany.

Keywords:   union membership, collective bargaining, employer associations, business associations, tensions

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