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Coal mine safety: do unions make a difference?

Authors
Morantz-AD
Source
Stanford, CA: Stanford Law School, John M. Olin Program in Law and Economics, Working Paper No. 413, 2011 Jun; :1-35
NIOSHTIC No.
20038854
Abstract
Although the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) has always advocated strongly for miners' safety, prior empirical literature contains no evidence that unionization reduced mine injuries or fatalities during the 1970s and '80s. This study uses a more comprehensive dataset and updated methodology to examine the relationship between unionization and underground, bituminous coal mine safety from 1993 to 2008. I find that unionization predicts a substantial and significant decline in traumatic mining injuries and fatalities, the two measures that I argue are the least prone to reporting bias. These disparities are especially pronounced among larger mines. My best estimates imply that overall, unionization predicts about a 17-33% drop in traumatic injuries and about a 33-72% drop in fatalities. However, unionization is also associated with higher total and non-traumatic injuries, suggesting that injury reporting practices differ substantially between union and nonunion mines. Unionization's attenuating effect on the predicted frequency of traumatic injuries seems to have grown since the mid 1990s.
Keywords
Coal-mining; Coal-miners; Underground-mining; Underground-miners; Work-practices; Workplace-studies; Safety-climate; Safety-practices; Safety-research; Work-environment; Injuries; Mortality-data; Traumatic-injuries
Contact
Alison D. Morantz, Professor of Law & John A. Wilson Distinguished Faculty Scholar, Stanford Law School, Crown Quadrangle, 559 Nathan Abbott Way, Stanford, CA 94305-8610
Publication Date
20110527
Document Type
Final Contract Report
Email Address
amorantz@law.stanford.edu
Funding Type
Contract
Fiscal Year
2011
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
Contract-200-2009-28820
Source Name
John M. Olin Program in Law and Economics, Working Paper No. 413
State
CA
Performing Organization
Stanford Law School, Stanford, California
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