Unions and Equal Employment Opportunity

Jonathan S. Leonard

NBER Working Paper No. 1311 (Also Reprint No. r0689)
Issued in March 1984
NBER Program(s):Labor Studies

This paper analyzes differences in the growth of minority and female employment between union and non-union manufacturing plants in California during the late 1970's, In this sector, unionized plants do not exhibit anymore gross employment discrimination than do nonunion plants against black or Hispanic men, or against black or white women, despite ther ecessions of the 1970's that displaced low seniority workers. Black males actually enjoy faster growth of employment share in unionized plants, suggesting that Title VII has been effective in increasing opportunities for blacks. This may help explain why unionization, though decreasing in the private sector, has been increasing among blacks. The role played by unions in mediating affirmative action regulations is also examined. There are significant differences across particular unions, especially between craft and industrial unions, within industries that correspond with each union's public record on EEO. Black employment increasesmost rapidly in industries with a long history of black employment, in plants organized by unions that take a liberal position towards EEO, and in industries with a large union wage effect. As least in California manufacturing during this period,the belief that unions have hindered minority and female employment does not seem to hold true for industrial unions.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w1311

Published: Leonard, Jonathan S. "The Effect of Unions on the Employment of Blacks, Hispanics and Women." Industrial and Labor Relations Review, Vol. 39, No. 1,(October 1985), pp. 115-132.

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