The Use of Replacement Workers in Union Contract Negotiations: The U.S. Experience, 1980-1989

30 Pages Posted: 11 Jun 2000

See all articles by Peter Cramton

Peter Cramton

University of Maryland - Department of Economics

Joseph S. Tracy

Federal Reserve Bank of New York; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: May 1995

Abstract

It is argued in many circles that a structural change occurred in U.S. collective bargaining in the 1980s. We investigate the extent to which the hiring of replacement workers can account for this change. For a sample of over 300 major strikes since 1980, we estimate the likelihood of replacements being hired. We find that the risk of replacement declines during tight labor markets, and is lower for bargaining units with more experienced workers. We use the predicted replacement risk as an explanatory variable in a model of the union's choice between the strike and holdout threat. We find that strike usage decreases significantly as the predicted replacement risk increases. We estimate that a ban on the use of replacement workers would have increased strike incidence from 1982-1989 by 3 percentage points, a 30 percent increase.

Suggested Citation

Cramton, Peter C. and Tracy, Joseph, The Use of Replacement Workers in Union Contract Negotiations: The U.S. Experience, 1980-1989 (May 1995). NBER Working Paper No. w5106. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=225171

Peter C. Cramton (Contact Author)

University of Maryland - Department of Economics ( email )

College Park, MD 20742
United States
301-405-6987 (Phone)
301-405-3542 (Fax)

Joseph Tracy

Federal Reserve Bank of New York ( email )

33 Liberty Street
New York, NY 10045
United States
212-720-6344 (Phone)
212-720-2630 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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