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Opportunistic Proposals by Union Shareholders

John Matsusaka (), Oguzhan Ozbas and Irene Yi

Review of Financial Studies, 2019, vol. 32, issue 8, 3215-3265

Abstract: This paper investigates whether labor unions use proposals opportunistically to influence contract negotiations. Our empirical strategy relies on the observation that proposals have higher bargaining-chip value in contract expiration years, when a new contract must be negotiated. We find that in contract expiration years compared with nonexpiration years, unions increase their proposal rate by one-fifth, particularly proposals concerning executive compensation. Union proposals made during expiration years are less likely to be supported by other shareholders or a leading proxy advisor; the market reacts negatively to union proposals in expiration years; and withdrawn union proposals are accompanied by higher wage settlements. Received March 14, 2017; editorial decision July 19, 2018 by Editor Wei Jiang. Authors have furnished an Internet Appendix, which is available on the Oxford University Press Web site next to the link to the final published paper online

Date: 2019
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