Women’s wages, benefits boosted by union membership

A year ago Gov. Bill Ritter got clobbered by the press and conservative pundits for signing an executive order allowing state workers to join unions.

Now, a new report may offer some vindication for the governor’s decision — especially as the federal Employee Free Choice Act to ease union organizing rules and strengthen union-busting laws gains steam again in Congress.

The Center for Economic and Policy Research finds in its new report, Unions and Upward Mobility for Women Workers, that “all else equal, joining a union raises a woman’s wage as much as a full-year of college, and a union raises the chances a woman has health insurance by more than earning a four-year college degree.”

Reviewing the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey, CEPR researchers discovered that women union members earn $5.47 more per hour than non-union women in similar jobs. Additionally, 25 percent more union sisters had health care benefits and 33 percent more had a pension. Women in low-wage jobs also earned substantially more and were significantly more likely to have employment benefits. Yet only 12.5 percent of the entire female work force belongs to a collective bargaining unit.

Chart: Center for Economic and Policy Research

Chart: Center for Economic and Policy Research

h/t Women’s Rights on Change.org

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Wendy Norris

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