Economic Snapshot | Unions and Labor Standards

Unions and Wages

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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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