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Developments in Collective Bargaining in Construction in the 1980s and 1990s


  • Steven G. Allen


This paper summarizes important developments in collective bargaining in the construction industry in the 1980s and 1990s. Workers in the industry have experienced high unemployment and a 17 percent drop in real wages. Union density has declined from 33 percent in 1981 to 22 percent in 1992, despite a sizable drop in the union-nonunion differential in wages and a tremendous reduction in the number of strikes. The main reasons for the decline in union strength are the adoption of strategies by contractors and owners to control labor costs and changes in the interpretation of labor laws that have given contractors more flexibility in determining their collective bargaining status.

Suggested Citation

  • Steven G. Allen, 1994. "Developments in Collective Bargaining in Construction in the 1980s and 1990s," NBER Working Papers 4674, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4674
    Note: LS

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Casey Ichniowski & Anne Preston, 1989. "The Persistence of Organized Crime in New York City Construction: An Economic Perspective," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 42(4), pages 549-565, July.
    2. Peter D. Linneman & Michael L. Wachter & William H. Carter, 1990. "Evaluating the Evidence on Union Employment and Wages," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 44(1), pages 34-53, October.
    3. Barry T. Hirsch & David A. Macpherson, 1993. "Union Membership and Coverage Files from the Current Population Surveys: Note," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 46(3), pages 574-578, April.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J4 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets
    • J5 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining


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