Labor Unions Strike Lengths Correcting Article Critique

Excerpt from Article Critique :

In this sense the percentage of unionization in the workforce can be a more important factor than simply membership alone.

The Ashenfelter and Johnson (1969) model spells out three crucial parties to the strike negotiations: firms, workers, and union representatives. It is assumed that the major considerations for union leaders are "(1) the survival and growth of the union as an institution, and (2) the personal political survival of the leaders (Finley, 2010)." The motivations of the union leaders can be vastly different. Some way focus on the future and strength of the union while others may have their own political ambitions. However, when you consider the union on a whole, the high the percentage of the membership then the more likely the union is to be committed to achieving some goal whether it be better benefits, higher wages, safer conditions, better schedules or other issues that serve as the basis of a strike.

While other studies have also examined similar relationships, this study takes a slightly different approach than previous studies. Previous studies have included data from all strikes that have occurred in a given period. However, this study excludes a certain set of strikes that do not meet the following criteria. Some strikes are announced beforehand and also have a set duration. For example, a strike committee might announce a general strike in a week that will last two days. Strikes like these should not be included in the data to try to find a relationship between bargaining power and strike duration since the duration has already been predetermined.

This distinction makes the regression of the data fit marginally better. The author readily admits that strikes are dynamic in nature and I personally agree with this position. Though the data may suggest a relationship between these variables there are many more factors that are in play and must be considered. Yet, as a general indicator, such a metric could provide some insight into the strength of the union's bargaining power and be used as a decision making tool for all parties involved.

Works Cited

Finley, G. (2010). Strike lengths: Correcting for prestrike announcements and the ration of bargaining…

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