The brief’s key findings are:
- Recent debates suggest that union power has led to higher public pension benefits.
- Interestingly, union strength appears to have no impact on the level or growth of benefits.
- Because pensions are legislated, not bargained, lobbying expertise may be more important than union size.
- In contrast, union strength does seem to raise employees’ wages.
- Because wages are determined through collective bargaining, union numbers appear to matter.
- Finally, union strength appears to reduce the relative size of the public workforce.
- Given the effect on wages, reductions in employment would not be unexpected.
- These results should be viewed as only a first step in understanding the influence of public unions on employee compensation.