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The Union Advantage Across the States


Unions substantially raise wages and benefits for workers

For Immediate Release: February 3, 2010
Contact: Alan Barber, (202) 293-5380 x115

Washington, DC - A new report released today by the Center for Economic and Policy Research examines unionization rates, the size and composition of the unionized workforce and the wages and benefits for union workers in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

“The union presence varies across states, but unions substantially raise wages and benefits for workers in every state," said John Schmitt, the author of the report.

The study, “The Unions of the States,” finds that in the typical state, unionization is associated with a 15 percent increase in hourly wages. Unionization is also associated with a 19-percentage-point increase in the likelihood of having employer-provided health insurance and a 24-percentage-point increase in the likelihood of having employer-sponsored retirement plans.

The report uses data from the monthly Current Population Survey (CPS) over the period 2003-2009. In addition to the wage and benefit increases, the study gives a detailed presentation of the demographic characteristics of each state’s workforce, including the share of each state’s unionized and non-unionized workforce by gender, racial and ethnic composition, as well as the level of education of the unionized and non-unionized workforce. The full report can be found here.

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