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Employer behavior in the face of union organizing drives


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  • Richard B. Freeman
  • Morris M. Kleiner


Using data from a 1986 survey of employers and a 1982-83 survey of union organizers, the authors investigate the determinants and consequences of employer opposition to union organizing drives. They find that strong management opposition, as evidenced by, for example, the filing of formal charges of unfair labor practices against management, was most likely when the firm had relatively low wages, poor working conditions, and supervisory problems; when the likelihood of union victory was uncertain; and when the potential union compensation differential-and thus the potential effect on firm profits-was high. Opposition by supervisors was particularly effective in defeating union drives. The authors conclude that firms' responses to organizing drives were consistent with the motive of profit maximization, and that management opposition has been an important determinant of the decline of unionization. (Abstract courtesy JSTOR.)

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Article provided by ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School in its journal ILR Review.

Volume (Year): 43 (1990)
Issue (Month): 4 (April)
Pages: 351-365

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Handle: RePEc:ilr:articl:v:43:y:1990:i:4:p:351-365

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Cited by:
  1. "Rebitzer, James B.", 1994. "Structural, Microeconomic and Institutional Explanations for Union Decline in the United States," Economic Review, Hitotsubashi University, Hitotsubashi University, vol. 45(1), pages 41-52, January.
  2. Thomas I. Palley, 2005. "Social Attitudes, Labor Law, and Union Organizing: Toward A New Economics of Union Density," Working Papers, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst wp93, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
  3. Ruiz-Verdu, Pablo, 2007. "The economics of union organization: Efficiency, information and profitability," Labour Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 14(5), pages 848-868, October.
  4. COZZI, Guido & TAROLA, Ornella, 2004. "Mergers, innovation, and inequality," CORE Discussion Papers, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE) 2004006, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  5. Corneo, Giacomo, 1995. "Social custom, management opposition, and trade union membership," European Economic Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 275-292, February.
  6. Rafael Gomez & Konstantinos Tzioumis, 2006. "What Do Unions Do to Executive Compensation?," CEP Discussion Papers, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE dp0720, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  7. Cynthia Estlund, 2007. "The Ossification of American Labor Law and the Decline of Self-governance in the Workplace," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, Springer, vol. 28(4), pages 591-608, September.
  8. Richard Disney & Amanda Gosling & Stephen Machin, 1994. "British Unions in Decline: An Examination of the 1980s Fall in Trade Union Recognition," NBER Working Papers 4733, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Pablo Ruiz Verdú, 2002. "Employer Behavior When Workers Can Unionize," Business Economics Working Papers, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Economía de la Empresa wb020803, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Economía de la Empresa.
  10. Hart, Cassandra M. D. & Sojourner, Aaron J., 2014. "Unionization and Productivity: Evidence from Charter Schools," IZA Discussion Papers 7887, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).


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