The Voice Effect of Unions: Evidence from the US

Abstract

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.

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Notes

  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 http://familiesandwork.org/site/work/workforce/2002nscw.html.

  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.

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Acknowledgements

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

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Correspondence to Benjamin Artz.

Appendix

Appendix

Table 5 Bivariate probit test for endogeneity

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Artz, B. The Voice Effect of Unions: Evidence from the US. J Labor Res 32, 326–335 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12122-011-9115-8

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Keywords

  • Family friendly benefits
  • Union
  • Probit

JEL

  • J1
  • J3
  • J5