Social Class, Union Strategies, and Preference in Wage Outcomes in Norway




Employment, Wages, Unemployment & Rehabilitation, Labor Market Institutions & Social Partners


This article explores a potential socialization effect of unions on member preferences in wage outcomes and bargaining structures. This challenges notions of union wage policies simply reflecting the material self-interest of their constituency.  In their formative role, unions can either propagate more redistribution in society, that is, increasing equality, or increasing societal inequalities, arguing instead for equity. However, equity could be measured either individually or collectively, where the latter would mean increasing societal wage inequalities while favouring intra-union equality. By putting perspectives on worker preferences and political economic theories in dialogue with the literature on the role of unions in constructing notions of equality/equity, we discuss on union strategy as it relates to their socialization effects and members’ attitudes towards income inequality and bargaining structures. Analysing survey data, we find that socioeconomic status has greater influence on preferred wage outcomes, while union membership has more influence over bargaining structure.

Author Biographies

Ann Cecilie Bergene, The Nordic Institute for Studies in Innovation, Research and Education (NIFU)

Senior researcher. E-mail:

Ida Drange, OsloMet – Oslo Metropolitan University

Research professor, the Work Research Institute


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How to Cite

Bergene, A. C., & Drange, I. (2021). Social Class, Union Strategies, and Preference in Wage Outcomes in Norway. Nordic Journal of Working Life Studies, 11(4).