The Voice Effect of Unions: Evidence from the US


Union voice is part responsible for the increased provision of fringe benefits to union workers and is particularly responsible for the redistribution of benefits towards the preferences of the average union worker. Family friendly benefits are valued more by females so union voice should increase the likelihood that provision of family friendly benefits increases in female dominated union workplaces. Individual level data from the US is used to examine whether union voice exists in this capacity. The paper’s results suggest that female dominated workplaces do tend to have increased access to most family friendly benefits, serving as further evidence that union voice exists in the US.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. 1.

    The mentioned studies involving UK and German data are Budd and Mumford (2004) and Heywood and Jirjahn (2009) respectively.

  2. 2.

    Freeman (1981) argues the traditional view that unionism increases fringe benefit provision. It is important to note that merely three of the eight benefits included in the paper are particularly family friendly. In this way Freeman (1981) does not effectively show that unionism increases family friendly benefit provision.

  3. 3.

    Kaufman (2002) provides a comprehensive overview of the multiple theories of union wage determination and its impact on labor markets in general.

  4. 4.

    Interested readers can find additional information regarding the NSCW at

  5. 5.

    Gunderson (2005) directly analyzes the effect of union voice in the public sector and explains how it tends to be stronger in its bargaining role than in the private sector. Indeed Budd (2005) notes that the amount of union-provided benefits attributable to union voice is considerably higher in the public sector than in the private sector. In this way, if the paper finds that union voice is significant in the private sector, than it is likely to be significant in the public sector as well. The difference in bargaining power between the sectors is not the central idea of the paper though, so public sector workers are excluded for these reasons.

  6. 6.

    The additional employer-provided benefits included in the NSCW dataset are health insurance, pensions (both defined benefit and defined contribution), on-the-job training, education subsidy programs and wellness and health programs.


  1. Ai C, Norton EC (2003) Interaction terms in logit and probit models. Econ Lett 80:123–129

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Bender KA, Donohue SM, Heywood JS (2005) Job satisfaction and gender segregation. Oxford University Press 57(3):479–496

    Google Scholar 

  3. Budd JW (2005) The effect of unions on employee benefits: updated employer expenditure results. J Labor Res 26(4):669–676

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Budd JW (2007) The effect of unions on employee benefits and non-wage compensation: monopoly power, collective voice and facilitation, What Do Unions Do? A Twenty-Year Perspective. Transaction Publishers, New Jersey, pp 160–192

    Google Scholar 

  5. Budd JW, Mumford K (2004) Trade unions and family-friendly policies in Britain. Ind Lab Relat Rev 57:204–222

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Freeman RB (1981) The effect of unionism on fringe benefits. Ind Lab Relat Rev 34:489–509

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Freeman RB, Medoff JL (1979) The two faces of unionism. Public Interest 57:69–93

    Google Scholar 

  8. Freeman RB, Medoff JL (1984) “What do Unions Do?” Basic Books, New York

    Google Scholar 

  9. Gunderson M (2005) Two Faces of union voice in the public sector. J Lab Res 26(3):393–413

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Heywood JS, Jirjahn U (2009) Family-friendly practices and worker representation in Germany. Ind Relat 48(1):121–145

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Kaminski M, Yakura EK (2008) Women’s union leadership: closing the gender gap. Working USA: The Journal of Labor and Society 11:459–475

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Kaufman BE (2002) Models of union wage determination: what have we learned since dunlop and Ross? Ind Relat 41:110–158

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


The author would like to thank John Heywood for helpful comments and suggestions.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Benjamin Artz.



Table 5 Bivariate probit test for endogeneity

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Artz, B. The Voice Effect of Unions: Evidence from the US. J Labor Res 32, 326–335 (2011).

Download citation


  • Family friendly benefits
  • Union
  • Probit


  • J1
  • J3
  • J5