Here’s a big reason to join a union – a bigger paycheck.
New numbers from U.S. Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show just how much of a difference a union makes in terms of worker pay.
The BLS reported that median weekly earnings for union workers nationally were $1,095 last year, compared to $892 for nonunion workers. That’s a union difference of $203, or 22.8%.
The union difference was more pronounced for women and minorities. (See table 2 of the BLS release).
The median weekly wage for unionized women was $1,018 in 2019, compared to $792 for nonunion women. Union difference: $226.
For unionized African American workers, it was $905. Compare that to $711 for African Americans who weren’t union members. Union difference: $194.
For unionized Hispanic workers, it was $954, as opposed to $686 for nonunion Latino and Latina workers. Union difference: $268.
Union members are also more likely to receive benefits like paid sick leave, comprehensive health insurance and access to retirement plans. Forming a union allows workers to build power on the job and gain the collective voice needed to negotiate effectively with their employers for higher pay, better benefits, improved working conditions, as well as more resources to better serve their communities.
Working people nationwide are recognizing this. No wonder unions are more popular now than they have been in a long time. Our economy works almost exclusively for the wealthy and for corporations. It allows big banks, for instance, to save billions of dollars in taxes and offer fat dividends to their stockholders – even as banks lay off workers.
Unions help workers build power and unrig our economy so it helps them and their families. Higher pay is but one advantage of forming or joining a union – and that’s a union difference you can take to the bank.