Creator: Holmes, Thomas J. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 368 Abstract:
Unionism in the United States is contagious; it spills out of coal mines and steel mills into other establishments in the neighborhood, like hospitals and supermarkets. The geographic spillover of unionism is documented here using a newly constructed establishment level data on unionism that is rich in geographic detail. A strong connection is found between unionism of health care establishments today and proximity to unionized coal mines and steel mills from the 1950s.
Keyword: Contagion, Unions, South, and Spillover Subject (JEL): J50 - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining: General and R00 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics: General
Creator: Schmitz, James Andrew Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 286 Abstract:
Great Lakes iron ore producers had faced no competition from foreign iron ore in the Great Lakes steel market for nearly a century as the 1970s closed. In the early 1980s, as a result of unprecedented developments in the world steel market, Brazilian producers were offering to deliver iron ore to Chicago (the heart of the Great Lakes market) at prices substantially below local iron ore prices. The U.S. and Canadian iron ore industries faced a major crisis that cast doubt on their future. In response to the crisis, these industries dramatically increased productivity. Labor productivity doubled in a few years (whereas it had changed little in the preceding decade). Materials productivity increased by more than half. Capital productivity increased as well. I show that most of the productivity gains were due to changes in work practices. Work practice changes reduced overstaffing and hence increased labor productivity. Changes in work practices, by increasing the fraction of time equipment was in operating mode, also significantly increased materials and capital productivity.
Keyword: Competition, Effort, Labor Productivity, and Work Rules Subject (JEL): J50 - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining: General, L70 - Industry Studies: Primary Products and Construction: General, O40 - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity: General, O35 - Social Innovation, and J24 - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
Creator: Marshall, Robert and Merlo, Antonio Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 220 Abstract:
Many unions in the United States have for several years engaged in what is known as pattern bargaining—a union determines a sequence for negotiations with firms within an industry where the agreement with the first firm becomes the take-it-or-leave-it offer by the union for all subsequent negotiations. In this paper, we show that pattern bargaining is preferred by a union to both simultaneous industrywide negotiations and sequential negotiations without a pattern. In recent years, unions have increasingly moved away from patterns that equalized wage rates across firms when these patterns did not equalize interfirm labor costs. Allowing for interfirm productivity differentials within an industry, we show that for small interfirm productivity differentials, the union most prefers a pattern in wages, but for a sufficiently wide differential, the union prefers a pattern in labor costs.
Subject (JEL): J50 - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining: General and L13 - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets