Unions as insurance: Workplace unionization and workers' outcomes during COVID-19

Research output: Journal contributionsJournal articlesResearchpeer-review


We investigate to what extent workplace unionization protects workers from external shocks by preventing involuntary job separations. Using the COVID-19 pandemic as a plausibly exogenous shock hitting the whole economy, we compare workers who worked in unionized and non-unionized workplaces directly before the pandemic in a difference-in-differences framework. We find that unionized workers were substantially more likely to remain working for their pre-COVID employer and to be in employment. This greater employment stability was not traded off against lower working hours or labor income.

Original languageEnglish
JournalIndustrial Relations
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)152-171
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 04.2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Industrial Relations published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Regents of the University of California (RUC).