Labor Unions and Workplace Safety Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic
This project extends ongoing work by this research team on nursing home unionization and COVID-19 preparedness. The interdisciplinary team takes a mixed-methods approach to estimate the causal link between collective bargaining and workplace safety prior to and during the pandemic. The researchers have built a proprietary dataset of union status of all 15,000 nursing homes in the United States and merged it with publicly available Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services workplace-level data on COVID-19 outcomes in nursing homes. They will use this dataset to examine the impact of unionization on health and injury outcomes (and racial differences) before and during COVID-19 in the 2016–2021 period. Using an event-study difference-in-difference framework will allow them to capture the validity of parallel trends assumptions, and the proposed regression discontinuity design will help to establish the causal effect of unionization on worker COVID-19 infection outcomes. This is an important question that has significant resonance right now, as we are seeing a resurgence of union activity among major employers.