The Bargaining Power of Health Care Unions and Union Wage Premiums for Registered Nurses

Source: Christopher K. Coombs, Robert J. Newman, Richard J. Cebula, Mary L. White, Journal of Labor Research, Volume 36, Issue 4, December 2015
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From the abstract:
For the first time in its history, the National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses in 2008 includes a question involving union status. This study utilizes data from this sample to estimate the union/non-union wage premium for registered nurses and among some of the occupational-, workplace-, and individual-specific characteristics. The study finds that standard union wage premium estimates for registered nurses are larger than what were revealed in other relatively recent studies. Upon inspection of various characteristics of registered nurses, the study finds a positive wage gap for union nurses as experience increases. With respect to characteristics of the workplace, there is statistical evidence in the sample that suggests a wage gap for registered nurses in the private- and public- sector, although more distinct in the private-sector. Finally, a positive wage gap is found for union nurses working in hospitals. The lattermost finding is particularly interesting given a specific change in labor law that occurred in the early 1990s that may have resulted in temporal differences in union wage effects within health care. The possibilities that unions “spillover” their bargaining power to help increase the wages of nonunion workers, or that perhaps employers are paying efficiency wages to remain “union-free” are also explored.