Labor Unions and Covid-19: Beyond the Workplace

44 Pages Posted: 29 Apr 2022

See all articles by Peyman Firouzi Naeim

Peyman Firouzi Naeim

Arc Center of Excellence in Population Aging Research (CEPAR) UNSW Business School

Golnoush Rahimzadeh

The University of Sydney

Date Written: March 26, 2022

Abstract

Person-to-person transmission in the workplace is thought to play a crucial role in the spread of COVID-19. Labor unions are among the largest institutions in the United States, and their role in regulating employee-employer relations is hard to ignore. Costly efforts to contain the virus combined with the monopoly and collective voice faces of unions emphasize the role of unions in shaping the workforce’s response to the pandemic, where the effects can be amplified by the further transmission of the virus beyond the workplace. We utilize state-level data and a dynamic spatial probability model to quantify the total effect of both economic activities and union membership. We find that increasing economic activity by recruiting 1,000 new employees from unemployed individuals would lead to 368 more COVID-19 cases by November 2020 and before the vaccine rollout. However, increasing the union size by 1,000 while keeping the employment level constant would lead to 111 fewer COVID-19 cases in the same period.

Note:
Funding Information: This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

Conflict of Interests: We have no competing interests to declare.

Keywords: COVID-19, labor unions, unionization, work environment, externalities

Suggested Citation

Firouzi Naeim, Peyman and Rahimzadeh, Golnoush, Labor Unions and Covid-19: Beyond the Workplace (March 26, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4070080 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4070080

Peyman Firouzi Naeim (Contact Author)

Arc Center of Excellence in Population Aging Research (CEPAR) UNSW Business School ( email )

UNSW Business School
High St
Sydney, NSW 2052
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://www.pfirouzi.com

Golnoush Rahimzadeh

The University of Sydney ( email )

University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia

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