Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Should you join a union? The research says yes.

Washington Post
February 10th, 2015

Last week, Vox's Matt Yglesias examined a study that had a depressing outlook for the labor movement. Companies that had recently unionized, economist Brigham Frandsen found, had lower average wages, employed fewer people and were more likely to go belly-up. Yikes!
But it’s not usually a good idea to look at studies in isolation. There’s a lot of other research that complicates the picture. And it’s actually an important question: What good are unions, really? Are dues worth the investment?
Although there’s not a lot of evidence on freshly organized firms specifically, which Frandsen focuses on, there's no clear reason why newly unionized firms shouldn't grow to resemble those that have had unions for a long time (granted, in some sectors with very low union density, being unionized could put a firm at a disadvantage -- but there can be productivity gains as well, so death isn't inevitable). And the research there suggests that you’re still better off as a union member than not.

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