The Role and Influence of Trade Unions in the OECD
Paper No' CEPDP0310:
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In this report the role of trade unions in the United States is compared with those in eighteen other OECD countries using micro-data at the level of the individual. The main findings are as follows: 1. The declines in union density experiences in the US in the last thirty years are not typical of the OECD. 2. There are many similarities across countries in who joins unions. 3. The union-nonunion wage differential in the US is approximately 15%. Unions in most other countries appear to raise wages by less. 4. Unions reduce total hours of work. The size of the effect appears to be relatively small in the US. The paper concludes that the contraction in US union density is driven by what unions do on the wage front. If unions wish to survive they will have to emphasize their collective voice role rather than their monopoly face.