Hospital employees' wages and labor union organization

R. Feldman, L. F. Lee

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This report summarizes the findings from a study which analyzed the relationship between hospital employees' wages and unionization. data were obtained from a1977 survey of a random sample of 1,200 hospitals and from 1977 and 1978 Current Population Surveys (CPSs) conducted by the United States Census Bureau. The hospitals sample was stratified according to four geographic regions, four types of ownership. and presence or absence of a collective bargaining agreement in 1975. Analysis of data from the hospital survey indicated that unionism is positively related to federal ownership, hospital size, and location in the Pacific, East North Central, Middle Atlantic, and New England states. This study predicts that as many as 65 percent of all United States hospitals will have one or more union contracts by 1990. A model of the simultaneous relation between unionism and wage rates was applied to the data from unionism and wage rates was applied to the data from the surveys. The findings showed that hospital unions raise wages at a rate of 3.4 percent for registered nurses (RNs), 5.6 percent for licenced practical nurses (LPNs), 7.4 percent for clerical workers, and 7.8 percent for service and maintenance employees. For all four occupations studied the probability of a collective bargaining contract increases as the potential wage gain from unionization increases. The study found that RNs' unions are least affected by potential wage gains. Hospital concentration was found to depress wages in all nonunion occupations. In the union sample, however, the coefficient of concentration reverses the sign from negative to positive for RNs and secretaries, indicating unionism is a countervailing force to the market power of hospitals. There is a tendency for minorities to be overrepresented in unions and for married women and college-educated health workers to be underrepresented. Predicted wage gains were not shown to affect significantly the unionization decision. The omission of important hospital and industry characteristics from the CPS surveys, however, may have biased the results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Journal[No source information available]
StatePublished - Jan 1 1980


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