NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Two Faces of Unionism

Richard B. Freeman, James L. Medoff

NBER Working Paper No. 364 (Also Reprint No. r0045)
Issued in June 1979
NBER Program(s):   LS

Our research demonstrates that the view of unions as organizations whose chief function is to raise wages is seriously misleading. For in addition to raising wages, unions have significant non-wage effects which influence diverse aspects of modern industrial life. By providing workers with a voice both at the workplace and in the political arena, unions can and do affect positively the functioning of the economic and social systems. Although our research on the non-wage effects of trade unions is by no means complete and some results will surely change as more evidence becomes available, enough work has been done to yield the broad outlines of a new view of unionism.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w0364

Published:

  • Freeman, Richard B. and Medoff James L. "The Two Faces of Unionism." The Public Interest, Vol. 57, (Fall 1979), pp. 69-93. ,
  • (French version R88 -Revue Economique, Vol. 31, No. 3, May 1980.) ,
  • Le Syndicalisme a Deux Visages, Richard B. Freeman, James L. Medoff.

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