The authors examine the effect of labor unions on workplace safety. For identification, they exploit the timing and outcome of union elections, using establishments in which elections narrowly fail as a comparison group for establishments in which elections narrowly pass. Data on elections come from the National Labor Relations Board, and data on workplace safety come from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The results indicate that unionization had no detectable effect on accident case rates at the mean, but shifted downward the case-rate distribution below 2 cases per 100 full-time equivalent workers annually. The downward shift is most evident among larger bargaining units and manufacturing establishments. Results at the higher end of case-rate distribution are inconclusive.
- labor unions
- occupational safety
- workplace safety
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Strategy and Management
- Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
- Management of Technology and Innovation