NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Impact Of New Unionization On Wages And Working Conditions: A Longitudinal Study Of Establishments Under NLRB Elections

Richard B. Freeman, Morris M. Kleiner

NBER Working Paper No. 2563 (Also Reprint No. r1410)
Issued in April 1988
NBER Program(s):   LS

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.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w2563

Published: "The Impact of New Unionization on Wages and Working Conditions." From Journal of Labor Economics, Vol. 8, No. 1, Part 2, pp. S8-S25, (January 1990).

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