Economic snapshot | Unions and Labor Standards

Unions and Wages

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A weekly presentation of downloadable charts and short analyses designed to graphically illustrate important economic issues. Updated every Wednesday.

Snapshot for June 2, 1999


Unions and Wages

Union membership helps to raise workers’ pay and to narrow the income gap that leaves women and minorities at a disadvantage.

Overall, union workers earn 32% more than those not in unions. The median weekly earnings for all full-time unionized wage workers were $659 in 1998, compared with $499 for their non-union counterparts. Among just men, the earnings of unionized workers were 22% greater ($699 as compared to $573). For white workers, the union pay premium totaled 33% ($683 as compared to $513).

But the union wage benefit is most pronounced among women and minorities. In 1998, women in unions earned 39% more ($596 as compared to $430), African American union members earned 45% more ($578 as compared to $398), and Hispanic workers earned 54% more ($540 as compared to $350) than their non-union counterparts.

Sources: The State of Working America 1998-99 and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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