Unions as Insurance: Workplace Unionization and Workers' Outcomes During COVID-19
Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society,
Abstract We investigate to what extent workplace unionization protects workers from external shocks by preventing involuntary job separations. Using the COVID-19 pandemic as a plausibly exogenous shock hitting the whole economy, we compare workers who worked in unionized and non-unionized workplaces directly before the pandemic in a difference-in-differences framework. We find that unionized workers were substantially more likely to remain working for their pre-COVID employer and to be in employment. This greater employment stability was not traded off against lower working hours or labor income.
Uncovered Workers in Plants Covered by Collective Bargaining: Who Are They and How Do They Fare?
British Journal of Industrial Relations,
Abstract In Germany, employers used to pay union members and non-members in a plant the same union wage in order to prevent workers from joining unions. Using recent administrative data, we investigate which workers in firms covered by collective bargaining agreements still individually benefit from these union agreements, which workers are not covered anymore and what this means for their wages. We show that about 9 per cent of workers in plants with collective agreements do not enjoy individual coverage (and thus the union wage) anymore. Econometric analyses with unconditional quantile regressions and firm-fixed-effects estimations demonstrate that not being individually covered by a collective agreement has serious wage implications for most workers. Low-wage non-union workers and those at low hierarchy levels particularly suffer since employers abstain from extending union wages to them in order to pay lower wages. This jeopardizes unions' goal of protecting all disadvantaged workers.
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The German Model of Industrial Relations: Balancing Flexibility and Collective Action
Journal of Economic Perspectives,
We give an overview of the "German model" of industrial relations. We organize our review by focusing on the two pillars of the model: sectoral collective bargaining and firm-level codetermination. Relative to the United States, Germany outsources collective bargaining to the sectoral level, resulting in higher coverage and the avoidance of firm-level distributional conflict. Relative to other European countries, Germany makes it easy for employers to avoid coverage or use flexibility provisions to deviate downwards from collective agreements. The greater flexibility of the German system may reduce unemployment, but may also erode bargaining coverage and increase inequality. Meanwhile, firm-level codetermination through worker board representation and works councils creates cooperative dialogue between employers and workers. Board representation has few direct impacts owing to worker representatives' minority vote share, but works councils, which hold a range of substantive powers, may be more impactful. Overall, the German model highlights tensions between efficiency-enhancing flexibility and equity-enhancing collective action.
06.09.2022 • 21/2022
IWH-Insolvenztrend: Ein Viertel mehr Firmenpleiten als im Vorjahr, Tendenz steigend
Die Zahl der Insolvenzen von Personen- und Kapitalgesellschaften liegt im August 26% über dem Vorjahreswert, zeigt die aktuelle Analyse des Leibniz-Instituts für Wirtschaftsforschung Halle (IWH). Für den Herbst ist mit zunehmenden Insolvenzzahlen zu rechnen.