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Declining Unionization: Do Fringe Benefits Matter?

  • Wayne Edwards


    (University of Alaska, Anchorage)

  • Scott M. Fuess, Jr.

    (University of Nebraska
    Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA))

This study examines whether there is a relationship between benefits and private sector unionization in the US. In their regression analysis, the authors use FRINGE in their as an explanatory variable. The dependent variable is UNIZ, the fraction of the private, non-farm labor force that is unionized. The changing nature of compensation has affected union density. In the private sector, as fringe benefits have become a more prominent component of workers' pay, ceteris paribus, union density has declined nationwide. Over the fifty-year period 1948-1997, at least 12% of the drop in unionization can be attributed to the growing role of non-wage benefits. For the private sector in general and manufacturing in particular, the authors have established that unionization is related to the composition of pay. Yet the influence of non-wage benefits may vary across industries or even different subsectors of manufacturing. It remains to be seen whether there are similar findings for other sectors.

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Article provided by Eastern Economic Association in its journal Eastern Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 31 (2005)
Issue (Month): 4 (Fall)
Pages: 563-580

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Handle: RePEc:eej:eeconj:v:31:y:2005:i:4:p:563-580
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  1. Seymour Martin Lipset & Ivan Katchanovski, 2001. "The Future of Private Sector Unions in the U.S," Journal of Labor Research, Transaction Publishers, vol. 22(2), pages 229-244, April.
  2. Neumann, George R & Rissman, Ellen R, 1984. "Where Have All the Union Members Gone?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(2), pages 175-92, April.
  3. Jack Fiorito, 2001. "Human Resource Management Practices and Worker Desires for Union Representation," Journal of Labor Research, Transaction Publishers, vol. 22(2), pages 335-354, April.
  4. Morris M. Kleiner, 2001. "Intensity of Management Resistance: Understanding the Decline of Unionization in the Private Sector," Journal of Labor Research, Transaction Publishers, vol. 22(3), pages 519-540, July.
  5. Leo Troy, 2001. "Twilight for Organized Labor," Journal of Labor Research, Transaction Publishers, vol. 22(2), pages 246-259, April.
  6. James T. Bennett & Jason E. Taylor, 2001. "Labor Unions: Victims of Their Political Success? ," Journal of Labor Research, Transaction Publishers, vol. 22(2), pages 261-273, April.
  7. Peter Kennedy, 2003. "A Guide to Econometrics, 5th Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 5, volume 1, number 026261183x, June.
  8. David Card & Richard B. Freeman, 1993. "Small Differences That Matter: Labor Markets and Income Maintenance in Canada and the United States," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number card93-1, December.
  9. Lumsden, Keith G & Petersen, Craig H, 1975. "The Effect of Right-to-Work Laws on Unionization in the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(6), pages 1237-48, December.
  10. James T. Bennett & Bruce E. Kaufman, 2001. "The Future of Private Sector Unionism in the U.S," Journal of Labor Research, Transaction Publishers, vol. 22(2), pages 227-228, April.
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