Labor unions improve wages and working conditions for all workers, whether they are union members or not. Unions help reduce wage gaps for women workers and workers of color. Union members have better job safety protections and better paid leave than non-union workers, and are more secure exercising their rights in the workplace.

Workers with union representation enjoy a significant pay premium compared to non-union workers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports non-union workers earn just 83 percent of what unionized workers earn ($975/week vs. $1,169/week).

Union Members - 2021 (bls.gov)

Marginal Difference in Weekly Wages Relative to Nonunion White Men

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When more workers have unions, wages rise for union and non-union workers. The converse is also true: when union density declines, so do workers' wages. A report by the Economic Policy Institute found the decline in unionization has cost the typical full-time, year-round worker $3,250 in lost earnings per year.

Declining union density reduces non-union wages

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Unions are a unique solution to closing the gender pay gap and ensuring equitable pay for women, because unions collectively bargain wages and pay scales that are transparent to all workers and apply to workers in the same job equally.

Want Equal Pay? Get a Union

Unions help close racial and gender pay gaps

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Public service workers who are represented by a union enjoy higher pay than their non-union counterparts. This pay advantage is even greater for Black and Hispanic workers.

Black and Hispanic workers especially benefit from public-sector collective bargaining

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Union representation offers greater access to, and participation in, employer-sponsored retirement plans. In fact, 93 percent of unionized workers in private industry have access to employer-sponsored retirement plans, compared to only 66 percent of non-union workers. Union workers participate in retirement plans at higher rates than non-union workers: 84 percent of unionized workers in private industry with access to retirement plans participate in those plans while only 49 percent of non-union workers who have access do.

Unionized workers are far more likely to be covered by employer-provided health insurance. More than nine of out 10 unionized workers have access to employer-provided health insurance, compared to 68 percent of non-union workers.

The Union Advantage in Healthcare

Access to Retirement Plans in Private Industry

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Workers who are represented by a union are far more likely to receive paid leave from their employers when they are sick or take vacation, an advantage especially important to working women who tend to be the family caregiver.

For women in Unions, Paid Leave is not a pipe dream (iwpr.org)

Women in Unions Have More Access to Paid Leave Benefits

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Work schedules are often a topic for collective bargaining, and – on average -- workers with union representation get significantly more advance notice of their work schedules than non-union workers. Scheduling predictability allows workers to enjoy better work/life balance.

Unions give workers more predictability and input over their work schedules

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Workers with a union have greater protection against retaliation when they report workplace safety and health concerns and when requesting a government inspection. As a result, enforcement of safety and health laws is stronger at unionized workplaces.

Enforcing OSHA: The role of labor unions. (fissuredworkplace.net)

A recent study of NLRB and OSHA data shows that union certification has positive effects on the rate of OSHA inspections, the share of inspections carried out in the presence of a union representative, violations cited and penalties assessed.

Effects of Unionization on Workplace-Safety Enforcement: Regression-Discontinuity Evidence (repec.org)

Unions kept workplaces safer during the COVID-19 pandemic

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