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

For Immediate Release

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Alan Barber, 571-306-2526

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.

WASHINGTON - 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 AAPI 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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The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) was established in 1999 to promote democratic debate on the most important economic and social issues that affect people's lives. In order for citizens to effectively exercise their voices in a democracy, they should be informed about the problems and choices that they face. CEPR is committed to presenting issues in an accurate and understandable manner, so that the public is better prepared to choose among the various policy options.

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