why do union workers earn higher wages

If you are not in a union, you are leaving hundreds of thousands of dollars in lifetime earnings on the table. And the CEO is tilting that table, so it all spills into his pocket. Today, The Century Foundation released
a new report on the prospects for using technology to assist in labor organizing. Please read the full report if you are so inclined. Or, you can just lazily pay attention to this portion of the report which we are breaking out: the numbers showing how much more money unionized workers earn over a lifetime. On a very basic level, unions are a mechanism that allow workers to get a larger portion of the money generated by a business for themselves. Absent an organized work force that is able to assert its power through collective bargaining, that extra money tends to go to executives and managers at the very top of a company, or to outside investors, rather than to the mass of workers. From the report, bolding ours: According to published reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), median earnings for a two-income, nonunion family are $400 a week less than that of a union family. Over a lifetime, that adds up to more than a half million dollars in foregone wealth.


Even when one accounts for characteristics that can affect earnings other than unionization, such as education, experience, occupation, hours worked, marital status, having children, state of residence, and (unfortunately) sex, race, and citizenshipвthe gap between union and nonunion workers remains nearly as large. Among private-sector workers who are otherwise similar, union members have per hour earnings that are 27. 6 percent greater, on average, than those of nonunion workers. And here is a lovely chart, also from the report, that illustrates this dynamic across a number of different industries. How much money are you sacrificing because you are not able to bargain collectively for higher wages? The fact that the vast majority of American workers are not unionized means that they make less money than they could, and that money goes to the relatively rich people who run the companies rather than the many poorer people who do the work. If you want to change that, organize. [ The full report. Photo via AP Hamilton@Gawker. com. Working people turn to unions to protect their rights, improve their working conditions, pay and benefits, and to give them security on the job.


Union representation means having someone who will stand up for your interests at work. It means having a voice, a way to say to your boss that the concerns of workers are every bit as important as the company's bottom line. And workers today need a union voice more than they ever have, with corporations giving workers less and expecting more from their employees than ever before. How Do Unions Do All This? It's really pretty simple. Unions negotiate contracts with employers that spell out wages, benefits and working conditions. By bringing workers together, unions have the strength to often improve wages and conditions dramatically. Unions also provide workers with representation when dealing with the boss. If a unionized worker feels he or she has been treated unfairly, they can turn to the union for help. The Union Difference When it comes to wages and benefits, union members see a significant difference versus non-union workers. A look at Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows how pronounced this difference is. On average, union workers earn wages that are 27 percent higher. The union wage benefit is even greater for minorities and women. Union women earn 34 percent more than nonunion women, African American union members earn 29 percent more than their nonunion counterparts, for Latino workers, the union advantage totals 59 percent and for Asian workers, the union advantage is 11 percent. б In addition, union workers are 54 percent more likely to have employer-provided pensions, and more than 83 percent of union workers have jobs that provide health insurance benefits.


Only 62 percent of non-union workers can say the same thing. In so-called Бright to workБ states Б which have laws that limit unionsБ strength Б average wages are 15 percent lower than in non right to work states. Unions helped create the middle class as we know it today, and the strength that union members have when negotiating their wages and benefits is the reason why. How Do You Form A Union? You may not realize it, but you've already taken the first step. If you think you and your co-workers would benefit from having someone stand up for you at your workplace,б. We'll be happy to get you more information about the union and what you can do to bring the benefits of having a union to your workplace. All contacts are kept strictly confidential.


Workers just like you have improved their lives by joining the RWDSU: БI have worked in other non-union stores, but I would never go back. Through the Union, I have guaranteed raises, protected commission rates, and benefits for me and my family. б Most of all, because of the Union contract, I can speak up, be respected and be heard. IБm a proud longtime member of RWDSU and I invite all of you to join us. Б Carrie Nathan, Macy's, New York City БBefore, we had no say in the way things were done. Now, we have a process in place to speak our minds, and we know that our jobs are secure, and it's a great feeling. Б б Eric Arrington, Alatrade Poultry, Alabama б БFavoritism was a big problem here and one of the reasons we wanted a union voice. They played the game of giving promotions and raises to certain people, and not others, depending upon how chummy they were with them. Quality of performance didnБt seem to factor into it much. Б Matt Shepherd, ColeБs Quality Foods, Iowa б БEven in tough economic times, when working people stick together they can protect what they have and even increase their wages and benefits. " Jeanne Bock, Gerber/Nestle, Michigan

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