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Home Press Center Press Releases Asian American and Pacific Islander Workers Among the Fastest Growing Groups in the Union Workforce

Asian American and Pacific Islander Workers Among the Fastest Growing Groups in the Union Workforce

Benefits and wage gains from unionization large by any measure. 

For Immediate Release: January 19, 2011
Contact: Alan Barber, 202-293-5380 x115

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A new report by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) documents a large wage and benefit advantage for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) workers in unions, relative to their non-union counterparts.

The report, "Unions and Upward Mobility for Asian American and Pacific Islander Workers," updates an earlier analysis of AAPI workers in organized labor and incorporates the latest data from the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey (CPS) for the period 2003-2009 to reveal a number of advantages of unionization for AAPI workers.

"As a share of the union workforce, only Latinos are growing at a rate faster than Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders,” said Nicole Woo, Director of Domestic Policy at CEPR and an author of the report. “While this is reflective of workforce trends in general, the data show that joining a union makes a big difference in the wages and benefits of AAPI workers."

The report finds that unionization raises the pay of Asian American and Pacific Islander workers by about $2.50 per hour. AAPI workers are 16 percentage points more likely to have employer-provided health insurance and 22 percentage points more likely to have an employer-provided pension plan than their non-union counterparts.

Among the other findings in the study:

  • about  one-in-eight (12.5 percent) of Asian American and Pacific Islander workers were in a union or represented by a union at their workplace
  • almost half (48.8 percent) of APA workers in unions were women
  • in 2003-2009, on average, two-thirds (67.0 percent) of unionized AAPI workers were immigrants
  • half (50.5 percent) of unionized AAPI workers had a four year college degree or more
  • more than four-in-ten (43.4 percent) unionized Asian American and Pacific Islander workers were in the public sector
  • unionized AAPI workers are heavily concentrated in several states, with about six-of-ten (60.0 percent) in the Pacific states and about four-in-ten (40.5 percent) in California alone

The full analysis can be found here.

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