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For a critique of the technological explanation for pay disparities, see Shierholz, Mishel, and Schmitt 2013. For a classic formulation, see Freeman and Medoff 1984. See also the review of the union decline literature in Clawson and Clawson 1999. Table A1 in the appendix displays unionization rates for various educational groups between 19.
For differences in union wage premiums in the private and public sectors, see Rosenfeld 2014, chapter 2. Autor, Katz, and Kearney 2006; 2008; Western and Rosenfeld 2011: Figure 1.
And no group has experienced a drop-off in pay as steep as nonunion men with a high school diploma or less education.
Their median wages (as of 2013) are approximately 13 percent lower than their wages in 1979. For a comprehensive examination of how the interrelationship between technological change and educational attainment has exacerbated inequality, see Goldin and Katz 2008.
Rebuilding our system of collective bargaining is an important tool available for fueling wage growth for both low- and middle-wage workers and ending the era of persistent wage stagnation.
A full set of model results for all of the analyses are available upon request. See Meyer and Sullivan 2013; Bivens and Mishel 2015. In the debates over the causes of wage stagnation, the decline in union power has not received nearly as much attention as globalization, technological change, and the slowdown in Americans’ educational attainment. Unions, especially in industries and regions where they are strong, help boost the wages of all workers by establishing pay and benefit standards that many nonunion firms adopt. We calculate the first scenario by subtracting the wage at 1979 union density from the 2013 estimated wage and dividing by the 1979 wage. Krueger and Summers 1988; but see Gittleman and Pierce 2011. For both low-range specifications, we drop the manufacturing dummy from the models, as the industry fixed-effects and industry-region fixed-effects effectively control for this sector’s influence on pay.
This is especially true for men in the private sector who lack a college education and do not belong to a labor union.