Uncovered workers in plants covered by collective bargaining: Who are they and how do they fare?

Publikation: Beiträge in ZeitschriftenZeitschriftenaufsätzeForschungbegutachtet


In Germany, employers used to pay union members and non-members in a plant the same union wage in order to prevent workers from joining unions. Using recent administrative data, we investigate which workers in firms covered by collective bargaining agreements still individually benefit from these union agreements, which workers are not covered anymore and what this means for their wages. We show that about 9 per cent of workers in plants with collective agreements do not enjoy individual coverage (and thus the union wage) anymore. Econometric analyses with unconditional quantile regressions and firm-fixed-effects estimations demonstrate that not being individually covered by a collective agreement has serious wage implications for most workers. Low-wage non-union workers and those at low hierarchy levels particularly suffer since employers abstain from extending union wages to them in order to pay lower wages. This jeopardizes unions’ goal of protecting all disadvantaged workers.
ZeitschriftBritish Journal of Industrial Relations
Seiten (von - bis)929-945
Anzahl der Seiten17
PublikationsstatusErschienen - 01.12.2022

Bibliographische Notiz

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank Laszlo Goerke, Susanne Kohaut, Thorsten Schank and two anonymous referees for helpful comments and suggestions. They further appreciate comments by seminar participants in Lüneburg and Nuremberg. Open access funding enabled and organized by Projekt DEAL.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors. British Journal of Industrial Relations published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.