Is There Another Union Premium? The Effect of Union Membership on Retirement Satisfaction
Because the "average" American is spending more time in retirement it is important to understand how satisfied retirees are with their experience. Using data from the Health and Retirement Study the author tests for a positive union effect on retirement satisfaction. The author does not find evidence for a direct union premium since positive union effects disappear after controlling for retirement planning, finances, job characteristics, and duration. However, the author does find strong indirect union effects due predominantly to union members having greater defined benefit pension coverage and less forced retirement. These results suggest that declining unionization may not reduce overall retirement satisfaction directly; however, it may do so indirectly. In addition, retirement satisfaction appears to be adversely affected by negative work conditions such as stooping and job stress. General findings also show who in society has most difficulty adjusting to retirement.