Cross-Posted at My Left Wing

It is well-established that unionized workers in the United States are covered by more extensive employee benefits than are comparable nonunion workers. Data from the March 2002 Current Population Survey (CPS), for example, show that unionized workers are 16.4 percentage points more likely than similar nonunion workers to be covered by an employer-provided health insurance plan, and 18.8 percentage points more likely to participate in an employer-sponsored retirement plan. What is less clear, however, is why this is so. In their seminal book What Do Unions Do?, Richard Freeman and James Medoff argue that greater benefits for unionized workers stem from two factors: 1) union bargaining power (what economists call the “monopoly face” or “monopoly effect” because they liken union bargaining power to that of a monopolist), and 2) union voice (or what is sometimes called the “collective voice” face).
Does this finding surprise anybody?  When employees exercise simple democratic principles by organizing their interests and electing representatives to negotiate for those interests, it is more than likely that the employees will get benefits.

However, Republicans argue that unions are bad and anti-competitive. What Republicans are really saying is democracy is great of Iraqis, but not for employees.


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