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Right-to-work and union compensation structure

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There are many reasons to expect that right-to-work legislation should affect unionism, independently of whether or not such legislation reflects the sentiments of the electorate. The strongest reason is that employees protected by right-to-work legislation can quit a union without quitting their job. This should make collective job actions more difficult and prompt local union leaders to strive more for consensus among members. If so, unions in right-to-work states should negotiate less pay for seniority than do unions in non-right-to-work states. PSID wage data generally confirm this prediction.

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The authors thank James Bennett, Art Blakemore, Dan Heldman, Barry Hirsch, Stuart Low, and an anonymous referee for comments on an earlier draft.

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Reid, J.D., Faith, R.L. Right-to-work and union compensation structure. Journal of Labor Research 8, 111–130 (1987).

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