The decline in the differential was particularly marked in Services. We return to industry differentials later Two points stand out from these analyses. First, no group of workers in the broader private sector sample has experienced a substantial increase in their union premium . Indeed, the only group recording any increase at all is those aged 45-54 who see their premium rise from 13% to 14%. Clearly, unions have found it harder to maintain a wage gap since FM wrote. Second, with the exception of the manual/non-manual gap, those with the highest premiums in the 1970s saw the biggest falls, so there has been some convergence in the size of wage gaps. This finding is apparent whether we compare trends using FM’s sample (columns 3 and 4) or the broader private sector sample (columns 1 and 2). This trend may be due to an increasingly competitive US economy, where workers commanding wages well above the market rate are subject to intense competition from non-union workers. Nevertheless, with the exception of the most highly educated and non-manual workers, the wage premium remains around 10% or more. 3.2. Public sector FM said little or nothing on the role of unions in the public sector, although, as noted above, Freeman has subsequently written voluminously on the issue. Given that the remaining bastion of unionism in the US is now in the public sector, it is likely if FM were writing today they would have devoted a considerable amount of space in a twenty-first century edition of WDUD to the public sector. So we did some of it for them: more evidence on how the role of unions in
10 the public sector since WDUD was written is presented by Morley Gunderson in another chapter in this volume. It is apparent from Table 2 above that the size of the public sector grew (from 15.6 million to 19.1 million or 22.4%) over the period 1983-2001 but as a proportion of total employment it fell from 18.0% to 16.1%. Union membership in the public sector grew even more rapidly (from 5.7 million to 7.1 million or by 24.6%). As we noted earlier, by 2001 public sector unions accounted for 44% of all union members compared with 32.5% in 1983. Table 4 is comparable to Table 3 above for the private sector in that it presents disaggregated union wage gap estimates. Because sample sizes in the public sector are small using the May CPS files we once again decided to use data from the ORG files of the CPS for the years 1983-1988 for comparison purposes with the 1996-2001 data. It was not possible to use data for the years 1979-1982 as no union data are available. A further advantage of using the 1983-1988 data is that information is available on those individuals whose earnings were allocated who were then excluded from the analysis. The main findings are as follows. 1) The private sector union wage gap has fallen over the two periods (21.5% to 17.0%) whereas a slight increase was observed in the public sector (13.3% to 14.5% respectively).
You've reached the end of your free preview.
Want to read all 58 pages?
- Summer '19
- Trade union, union wage, union wage premium