Trade Unions and Political Participation in the European Union: Still Providing a Democratic Dividend?
24 Pages Posted: 17 Feb 2007
Decline in electoral participation is a feature of many Western democracies. In this paper, we focus on the relationship between trade union membership and political participation. Workplace authority structures, trade union membership and union presence have been identified as important influences on electoral participation. Based on a survey of employees in 15 member states of the European Union, we test for a relationship between political participation, union membership and union workplace presence. The independent effect of trade union membership on political participation was found to be both significant and positive and is associated with higher levels of political activism and electoral participation. Furthermore, an institutional context that facilitates high levels of union density seems likely to have an overall positive effect on citizen participation.
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By Lisa Schur