Today the Department of Labor released their annual report on union membership in the United States. For the first time in many years the number of union members held steady at just over 11% of the U.S. workforce.
For many years labor unions have been saying that being a union member has a definite financial advantage, and this report proves it.
“The data also show that among full-time wage and salary workers, union members have higher median weekly earnings than nonunion workers,” said Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez. “The median weekly earnings of union members were $950, compared to $750 for nonunion workers.”
The average benefit for being a union member is $200 per week, or just over $10,000 per year. That is a significant boost to a workers income.
The additional money in their paycheck is not the only benefit to being a union member, as Sec. Perez explains.
“Along with higher wages, other data show that union members have greater access to employment-based benefits, such as health insurance, a retirement savings plan, and sick and vacation leave.”
“Unionized workers are more likely than their nonunionized counterparts to receive paid leave, are approximately 18% to 28% more likely to have employer-provided health insurance, and are 23% to 54% more likely to be in employer-provided pension plans.”
Not only are unionized workers more likely to have healthcare, typically they pay less for their coverage.
“They (unionized workers) also pay 18% lower health care deductibles and a smaller share of the costs for family coverage.” (EPI Report)
Membership has its benefits.
Sec. Thomas Perez: “Workers’ ability to form unions and engage in collective bargaining has been a cornerstone of a strong middle class. The decline in union membership over the last few decades has contributed to more working families struggling to get by. When workers have a seat at the table, they are better able to bargain for their fair share of the value they helped create; and that leads to greater economic security and economic mobility for everyone. As our economy continues to recover and we work to create good jobs, we need to ensure workers can lift their voices to raise wages, reduce inequality and help more people climb ladders of opportunity.”
See also Private-Sector Union Membership Grows in 2013 from the AFL-CIO