EPI: Evidence Shows Collective Bargaining Raises Teacher Pay

Labor News

Reprinted from The Economic Policy Institute by Lawrence Mishel on March 30, 2018.

“Some recent media reports on a new academic study by political scientist Agustina Paglayan give the impression that the paper’s findings reflect badly on teachers unions,” writes Lawrence Mishel for The Economic Policy Institute. “This is a misreading, however, of the study and of its implications. A key issue lost in the press accounts is that the study is, first and foremost, an historical analysis, examining the effects of the expansion of state collective bargaining rights for teachers between 1959 and 1990. Given the historical focus, the study excludes the experience of the last three decades, where the evidence clearly suggests that collective bargaining raises teachers pay.

“But, even with respect to just the historical period studied, the paper’s conclusions are much more nuanced than the press reports suggest. A central conclusion, which has been overlooked in media accounts, is the author’s view that the reason that teachers unions might not have been effective in raising expenditures on education (including teachers’ pay) in the early days of expanding collective bargaining rights is because the laws that allowed collective bargaining often simultaneously restricted the ability of public-sector unions to strike. What the law gave with one hand, it often took back with the other. To illustrate the point, the paper shows that in states where public-sector workers had both the right to collective bargaining and the right to strike, collective bargaining did appear to increase expenditures on education. …

EPI 3/30

About Jeffrey Burman 2662 Articles
Jeff Burman represents assistant editors on the Guild’s Board of Directors. He can be reached at jeffrey.s.burman.57@gmail.com.

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