Tuesday, February 04, 2014


[IWS] New ILRREVIEW, Volume 67, Issue 1 [4 February 2014]

IWS Documented News Service


Institute for Workplace Studies----------------- Professor Samuel B. Bacharach

School of Industrial & Labor Relations-------- Director, Institute for Workplace Studies

Cornell University

16 East 34th Street, 4th floor---------------------- Stuart Basefsky

New York, NY 10016 -------------------------------Director, IWS News Bureau



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ILRReview, Volume 67, Issue 1


Pathways to Enforcement: Labor Inspectors Leveraging Linkages with Society in Argentina

By Matthew Amengual


Regulations essential for improving labor standards are often ignored to the detriment of workers. In many countries, the agencies charged with enforcement lack resources and are subject to political interference. How can inspectors in flawed bureaucracies overcome these barriers and enforce labor regulations? In this article, based on case studies of subnational variation in Argentina, the author develops a theory to explain enforcement in places with weak and politicized labor inspectorates. The framework focuses on two factors: the strength of linkages between bureaucrats and allied civil society organizations, and the level of administrative resources in the bureaucracy. Linkages facilitate routinized resource sharing and the construction of pro-enforcement coalitions, and administrative resources determine whether bureaucrats use societal resources passively or strategically. By identifying pathways to enforcement that are obscured by dominant approaches to studying labor inspection, this research opens up new possibilities for crafting strategies to improve labor standards.


Union Recognition by Multinational Companies in China: A Dual Institutional Pressure Perspective

By Sunghoon Kim, Jian Han, and Longkai Zhao


Over the last decade, Chinese authorities have pressed foreign multinational companies to recognize official trade unions. Employing cross-classified multilevel modeling on a large data set (10,108 foreign-owned firms cross-embedded in 32 home countries and 755 Chinese cities), this study examines the antecedents of the varied positions of foreign-owned firms toward union recognition around the midpoint of the first decade of the 2000s—a time when the government-led union recognition campaign in China was gaining strength. Drawing on a dual institutional pressure perspective, the authors theorize that the likelihood that a foreign-owned firm will recognize a union depends on both the industrial relations system in the home country and the location of its operations in the host country. Specifically, a foreign-owned firm is more likely to recognize unions if it originated from a nation where the legitimacy of collective representation is high and if it is located in a Chinese city where union recognition is prevalent among Chinese-owned firms.


Effects of Union Organization on Strike Incidence in EU Companies

By Giedo Jansen


The author reinvestigates the relationship between the organizational power of trade unions and strikes based on data from the European Company Survey 2009 (ECS-2009) and the Institutional Characteristics of Trade Unions, Wage Setting, State Intervention and Social Pacts (ICTWSS) database, which include more than 5,000 firms across all 27 European Union (EU) member states. He shows that the incidence of strikes is higher in companies for which workplace union membership is high, the number of workplace unions is high, and unions dominate establishment-level works councils. These factors interact to affect strike incidence. In addition, the company-level effects of union organization on strike incidence vary across countries. These country differences can partially be explained by differences in national trade union systems, such as decentralization and membership density.


Temporary Weapons: Employers’ Use of Temps against Organized Labor

By Erin Hatton


Since the 1970s, U.S. employers have restructured their relationship to the labor market. This restructuring has included their rising use of nonstandard workers, particularly agency temps, and their systematic attacks on labor unions. These two trends are generally understood to be related but separate facets of a broader restructuring of the employment relationship. In this article, the author shows where and how these trends intersect by analyzing 106 labor–management disputes. Employers use temps as weapons against unions in four primary ways: to prevent unions from forming, to weaken existing unions, to apply pressure on unions during negotiations, and to intimidate or harass striking workers. The author concludes that deploying agency temps in this way is a qualitatively new phenomenon—not simply a continuation of employers’ long-standing practice of replacing union workers with “scab” labor.


Work–Life Flexibility Policies: Do Unions Affect Employee Access and Use?

By Peter Berg, Ellen Ernst Kossek, Kaumudi Misra, and Dale Belman


The authors examine the influence of individual and collective voice mechanisms on employee access to and use of six work–life flexibility practices. Their multilevel analyses are based on an original survey of 897 workers nested in departments across eight unionized establishments in the United States. Collective voice measures include the effectiveness of union pay benefits and union schedule support at the individual and union (group) levels. The authors’ analyses indicate that when unions are perceived to effectively support workers’ schedule needs, individual access to flextime, gradual return to work, and a compressed workweek is higher. By contrast, when unions are perceived to effectively negotiate higher wages and benefits and enforce the collective agreement, individual access to flextime and a compressed workweek is lower. Collective voice measures are also significantly related to the use of a number of work–life flexibility practices. These findings suggest that union behavior can have a significant and varied influence on access to and use of work–life flexibility practices.


The Changing Size Distribution of U.S. Trade Unions and Its Description by Pareto’s Distribution

By John Pencavel


The size distribution of trade unions in the United States and changes in this distribution are documented. Because the most profound changes are taking place among very large unions, these are subject to special analysis by invoking Pareto’s distribution—a new application of this distribution. Extensions to trade union wealth and to Britain are broached. The role of the public sector in these changes receives particular attention. A simple model helps account both for the logarithmic distribution of union membership and for the contrasting experiences of public-and private-sector unions since the 1970s.


Justice or Just between Us? Empirical Evidence of the Trade-Off between Procedural and Interactional Justice in Workplace Dispute Resolution

By Zev J. Eigen and Adam Seth Litwin


In this article, the authors examine the relationship between an employer’s implementation of a typical dispute resolution system (DRS) and organizational justice, perceived compliance with the law, and organizational commitment. They draw on unique data from a single, geographically expansive, U.S. firm with more than 100,000 employees in more than 1,000 locations. Holding all time-constant, location-level variables in place, they find that the introduction of a DRS is associated with elevated perceptions of interactional justice but diminished perceptions of procedural justice. They also find no discernible effect on organizational commitment, but a significant boost to perceived legal compliance by the company. The authors draw on these findings to offer a “differential-effects” model for conceptualizing the relationship among organizational justice, perceived legal compliance, and the implementation of dispute resolution mechanisms.


Are Worker-Managed Firms More Likely to Fail than Conventional Enterprises? Evidence from Uruguay

By Gabriel Burdín


Various theories suggest that worker-managed firms (WMFs) are prone to failure in competitive environments. Using a long panel of Uruguayan firms, the author presents new evidence on firm survival by comparing WMFs with conventional firms. After excluding microenterprises and controlling for differences in the effective tax burden faced by the two types of firms, the hazard of dissolution is 29% lower for WMFs than for conventional firms. This result is robust to alternative estimation strategies based on semiparametric and parametric frailty duration models that take into account unobserved firm-level heterogeneity and impose a range of distributional assumptions about the shape of the baseline hazard. The higher survival rates of worker-managed firms seem to be associated with their greater employment stability. This evidence suggests that the marginal presence of WMFs in actual market economies cannot be explained by the fact that these firms are less likely to survive than conventional firms.


Sexual Orientation and Earnings in Young Adulthood: New Evidence from Add Health

By Joseph J. Sabia


Using data from a rich new data source, the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, the author examines the sensitivity of the estimated earnings penalty faced by sexual minorities to 1) the use of multiple measures of sexual orientation, including both identity/attraction and behaviorally based definitions, and 2) controls for family and individual heterogeneity. Baseline regression results show that gay males and bisexuals earn less than their heterosexual counterparts, a result that persists after controlling for family-level observables. However, after controlling for personality and isolating self-identified sexual minorities who are most likely to be observed as such by employers, the estimated wage penalty for bisexuals falls sharply in absolute magnitude while the wage penalty for gay males persists. Preferred specifications show that relative to heterosexual males, gay males earn wages that are 13.1% lower, a result that is consistent with labor market discrimination. Neither lesbians nor bisexual females earn significantly less than their heterosexual counterparts.



Book Reviews

The Promise and Limits of Private Power: Promoting Labor Standards in a Global Economy. By Richard M. Locke. Reviewed by Stephanie Barrientos.


Outsourcing Economics: Global Value Chains in Capitalist Development. By William Milberg and Deborah Winkler. Reviewed by Stephanie Barrientos.


The Political Economy of the Service Transition. By Anne Wren. Reviewed by Jill Rubery.


Welfare States and Immigrant Rights: The Politics of Inclusion and Exclusion. By Diane Sainsbury. Reviewed by Sofía Pérez.


Rediscovering Collective Bargaining: Australia's Fair Work Act in International Perspective. Edited by Breen Creighton and Anthony Forsyth. Reviewed by Alexander Colvin.


Union Voices: Tactics and Tensions in UK Organizing. By Melanie Simms, Jane Holgate, and Edmund Heery. Reviewed by Maite Tapia.





This information is provided to subscribers, friends, faculty, students and alumni of the School of Industrial & Labor Relations (ILR). It is a service of the Institute for Workplace Studies (IWS) in New York City. Stuart Basefsky is responsible for the selection of the contents which is intended to keep researchers, companies, workers, and governments aware of the latest information related to ILR disciplines as it becomes available for the purposes of research, understanding and debate. The content does not reflect the opinions or positions of Cornell University, the School of Industrial & Labor Relations, or that of Mr. Basefsky and should not be construed as such. The service is unique in that it provides the original source documentation, via links, behind the news and research of the day. Use of the information provided is unrestricted. However, it is requested that users acknowledge that the information was found via the IWS Documented News Service.


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