The Impact of New Unionization on Wages and Working Conditions: a Longitudinal Study of Establishments Under Nlrb Elections

31 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2007 Last revised: 2 Jan 2023

See all articles by Richard B. Freeman

Richard B. Freeman

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); University of Edinburgh - School of Social and Political Studies; Harvard University; London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Centre for Economic Performance (CEP)

Morris M. Kleiner

Humphrey School of Public Affairs; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: April 1988

Abstract

This study investigates the impact of union organization on the wages and labor practices of establishments newly organized in the 1980s using a research design in which establishments are 'paired' with their closest nonunion competitor. There are two major findings. First. unionism had only a modest effect on wages in the newly organized plants, which contrasts sharply with the huge union wage impact found in cross-section comparisons of union and nonunion individuals on Current Population Survey and related data tapes. Second, in contrast co its modest impact on wages, new unionization substantially altered several personnel practices. creating grievance systems, greater seniority protection. and job bidding and posting. That newly organized establishments adopt union working conditions but grant only modest increases in wages suggests that 'collective voice' rather than monopoly wage gains is the key to understanding what unionism does in the economy.

Suggested Citation

Freeman, Richard B. and Kleiner, Morris M., The Impact of New Unionization on Wages and Working Conditions: a Longitudinal Study of Establishments Under Nlrb Elections (April 1988). NBER Working Paper No. w2563, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=978757

Richard B. Freeman (Contact Author)

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Morris M. Kleiner

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