Unionization Substantially Improves the Pay and Benefits of Immigrant Workers

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March 25, 2010

For Immediate Release:March 25, 2010
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 immigrant workers in unions relative to their non-union counterparts.

The report, "Unions and Upward Mobility for Immigrant Workers," found that unionized immigrant workers earned, on average, 17 percent more than their non-union peers. In addition, immigrant workers in unions were much more likely to have health insurance benefits and a pension plan.

“It is the labor market, not the border that is broken,” said John Schmitt, a Senior Economist at CEPR and the author of the study. “Unionization raises wages and benefits – and substantially—for both US-born and immigrant workers.”

The report, which analyzed data from the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey (CPS), found that unionization raises the pay of immigrant workers about $2.00 per hour. According to the report, immigrant workers in unions were also 50 percent more likely to have employer-provided health insurance. Immigrant workers were also almost twice as likely to have an employer-provided pension plan than immigrant workers who were not in unions.

The study also shows that unionization strongly benefited immigrant workers in otherwise low-wage occupations. Among immigrant workers in the 15 lowest-paying occupations, union members earned almost 20 percent more per hour than those workers who were not in unions. In the same low-wage occupations, unionized immigrants were more than twice as likely to have employer-provided health insurance and almost three times as likely to have a pension plan than their non-union counterparts.

Additional information is available from the following organizations:
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO
Malcolm Amado Uno
Executive Director
Muno – at - apalnet.org
Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA)
Hector Sanchez
Director of Policy and Research
202-508-6918
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