Tens of millions more wanted to join a union, but couldn’t.
These are only a few of the many points raised in a well documented article by the Economic Policy Institute, 1/19/2023.
Industries with sizable increases in unionization rates include durable goods manufacturing (from 8.3% to 8.9%), arts, entertainment, and recreation (from 5.5% to 7.6%), and agriculture and related industries (from 3.1% to 4.3%).
The entire increase in unionization in 2022 was among workers of color—workers of color saw an increase of 231,000, while white workers saw a decrease of 31,000. Of all major racial and ethnic groups, Black workers continue to have the highest unionization rates, at 12.8%. This compares with 11.2% for white workers, 10.0% for Latinx workers, and 9.2% for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) workers.
Unions raise wages for women and reduce racial/ethnic wage gaps. Hourly wages for women represented by a union are 4.7% higher on average than for nonunionized women with comparable characteristics. Black workers represented by a union are paid 13.1% more than their nonunionized Black peers, and Hispanic workers represented by a union are paid 18.8% more than their nonunionized Hispanic peers.
When workers are able to come together, form a union, and collectively bargain, their wages, benefits, and working conditions improve. For example, a worker covered by a union contract earns 10.2% more in wages on average than a peer with similar education, occupation, and experience in a nonunionized workplace in the same sector.
Unions also provide workers with better benefits. For example, union workers are far more likely to be covered by employer-provided health insurance: More than nine in 10 workers covered by a union contract (95%) have access to employer-sponsored health benefits, compared with just 69% of nonunion workers (BLS 2022a). Further, union employers contribute more to their employee’s health care benefits.