Women union workers do better than non-union counterparts

A new issue brief from the Center for Economic and Policy Research finds that women who belong to unions make more money and are more likely to have benefits than their non-union counterparts.

“Women are on track to become the majority of the union workforce in ten  years, but their rate of unionization is dropping, along with that of men. Considering the great boost to pay and benefits that unions bring, it’s important that anyone who cares about the wellbeing of women workers also care about unions,” said Nicole Woo, who along with John Schmitt co-authored the brief.

According to the issue brief, entitled Women Workers and Unions,  women workers who belong to unions make 12.9 percent more than non-union women working in comparable jobs.

They are also 36.8 percent more likely to have employer sponsored health care coverage and 53.4 percent more likely to have an employer sponsored pension plan.

These advantages extend to all levels of the workforce no matter what level of education is required for the job.

But the biggest beneficiaries of union membership are women who work in jobs that require less formal education.

In fact, union women with a high school diploma are more likely to have health care coverage and a pension plan than non-union women with a college degree.

The authors of the brief arrived at their conclusions after reviewing wage, health care, and retirement data from the US Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey.

Their analysis of the data controls for such factors as age, race, industry, education attainment, and state of residence.

The issue brief was published to coincide with the 50th anniversary of a report entitled “American Women: Report of the Commission on the Status of Women.”

The commission was chaired by Eleanor Roosevelt. The report broke new ground by finding that job discrimination against women was a pervasive problem and that legislation and policy changes were needed to end this discrimination.


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