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Labor Unions and Occupational Safety: Event-Study Analysis Using Union Elections

Ling Li, Shawn Rohlin and Perry Singleton ()
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Shawn Rohlin: Department of Economics, Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation, Kent State University

No 205, Center for Policy Research Working Papers from Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University

Abstract: This study examines the dynamic relationship between union elections and occupational safety among manufacturing establishments. Data on union elections come from the National Labor Relations Board, and data on workplace inspections and accident case rates come from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The results indicate that union elections improved occupational safety. First, workplace inspections trended upwards before the election, then decreased immediately after the election, due almost entirely to employee complaints. Second, accident case rates were relatively stable before the election, then trended downwards after the election, due to accidents involving days away from work, job restrictions, and job transfers. These effects are evident regardless of the election outcome. Based on the value of statistical injury, the improvement in occupational safety is equivalent to an increase in the hourly wage between $0.47 and $2.62.

Keywords: Unions; Occupational Safety; OSHA (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J28 J51 J81 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 36 pages
Date: 2017-07
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-lab
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