Public Sector Unionism without Collective Bargaining

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Public Sector Unionism without Collective Bargaining

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Title: Public Sector Unionism without Collective Bargaining
Author: Freeman, Richard Barry; Han, Eunice S.

Note: Order does not necessarily reflect citation order of authors.

Citation: Freeman, Richard B. and Eunice S. Han. 2013. Public Sector Unionism Without Collective Bargaining. Presented at the AEA Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA, January 6, 2013.
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Abstract: Seven states in the US outlaw public sector collective bargaining, but employees in these states still join unions. Public sector workers join unions in other states even when unions are unable to obtain collective agreements. Using the Current Population Survey Merged Outgoing Rotation Group 2001-2010, we estimate union membership wage premium for public sector employees across states with different public sector bargaining laws. We find that unionism is associated with higher earnings even in states that outlaw public sector bargaining. Using the School and Staffing Survey for teachers, we find that a substantial and increasing proportion of school districts reach meet-and-confer agreements with teachers unions and that those agreements are associated with better retirement plans for teachers. The percentage of workers who join unions in a school district is associated with higher earnings and lower contract working days for union members in states that outlaw collective bargaining as well as in states that mandate bargaining, which suggests that density contributes to the success of unions in the absence of collective bargaining.
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