Union Success in Representation Elections: Why Does Unit Size Matter?
I establish four facts regarding the pattern of NLRB supervised representation election activity over the past 45 years: 1) the quantity of election activity has fallen sharply and discontinuously since the mid-70's after increasing between the mid-1950's and the mid-1970's; 2) union success in elections held has declined less sharply, though continuously, over the entire period; 3) it has always been the case that unions have been less likely to win NLRB-supervised representation elections in large units than in small units; and 4) the size-gap in union success rates has widened substantially over the last forty years. I develop a simple optimizing model of the union decision to hold a representation election that can account for the first three facts. I provide a pair of competing explanations for the fourth fact: one based on differential behavior by employers of different sizes and one purely statistical. I then develop and estimate three empirical models of election outcomes using data on NLRB elections over the 1952-98 time period in order to determine whether the simple statistical model can account for the size pattern of union win rates over time. I conclude that systematic union selection of targets for organization combined with the purely statistical factors can largely account for observed patterns.
|Date of creation:||Jul 1999|
|Publication status:||published as Farber, Henry S. "Union Success In Representation Elections: Why Does Unit Size Matter?," International Labor Relations Review, 2001, v54(2,Jan), 329-348.|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.|
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- W. Craig Riddell, 1993.
"Unionization in Canada and the United States: A Tale of Two Countries,"
NBER Chapters,in: Small Differences That Matter: Labor Markets and Income Maintenance in Canada and the United States, pages 109-148
National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Riddell, W.C., 1993. "Unionization in Canada and the United States: A Tale of Two Countries," Papers 1993-1, Queen's at Kingston - Sch. of Indus. Relat. Papers in Industrial Relations.
- William T. Dickens, 1983. "The Effect of Company Campaigns on Certification Elections: Law and Reality Once Again," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 36(4), pages 560-575, July.
- William T. Dickens & Jonathan S. Leonard, 1984. "Accounting For The Decline in Union Membership," NBER Working Papers 1275, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)