Publication Date

October 2007


[Excerpt] Existing economic models of human behavior do not adequately deal with the seeming inconsistency between union members’ attitudes about their jobs and their subsequent actions. A more promising explanation might derive from job satisfaction theory, which suggests that union members have a particular set of values, expectations, and frames of reference that they use to evaluate the outcomes of their work effort. Individuals who join unions may place higher value on wages and benefits, which are the focus of most collectively- bargained contracts, than do non-union workers; historically, unions have delivered in this regard. Unionized workers may be more dissatisfied because of a more adversarial climate (e.g., testy supervisory and interpersonal relations, narrowly-defined jobs) but are less likely to quit because the things they value most—good wages and benefits—are provided.


Suggested Citation
Hammer, T. & Avgar, A. C. (2007). It’s a paradox: Union workers less satisfied but less likely to quit (ILR Impact Brief #21). Ithaca, NY: School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell University.

Required Publishers Statement
Copyrighted by Cornell University.