The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Alan Barber, 202-293-5380 x115

Unionization Substantially Improves the Pay and Benefits of Latino Workers

Union Membership Plays Valuable Role in Countering Economic Inequality


To mark the beginning of National Hispanic Heritage Month, a new report by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) documents a large wage and benefit advantage for Latino workers in unions relative to their non-union counterparts.

The report, "Unions and Upward Mobility for Latino Workers,"
found that unionized Latino workers earned, on average, 17.6 percent
more than their non-union peers. In addition, Latino workers in unions
were much more likely to have health insurance benefits and a pension

"Latinos are the fastest growing group in the U.S. labor force and the
fastest growing group inside the U.S. labor movement," said John Schmitt,
a Senior Economist at CEPR and the author of the study. "The data show
that unions make a big difference in wages and benefits for Latino

The report, which analyzed data from the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey
(CPS), found that unionization raises the pay of Latino workers by
about $2.60 per hour. According to the report, Latino workers in unions
were also 26 percentage points more likely to have employer-provided
health insurance and 27 percentage points more likely to have an
employer-provided pension plan than Latino workers who were not in

According to the study, unionization also strongly benefited Latino
workers in otherwise low-wage occupations. Among Latino workers in the
15 lowest-paying occupations, union members earned 16.6 percent more
than those workers who were not in unions. In the same low-wage
occupations, unionized Latinos were 41 percentage points more likely to
have employer-provided health insurance and 18 percentage points more
likely to have a pension plan than their non-union counterparts.

Latinos made up about five percent of the U.S. work force at the end of
the 1970s. By 2007, Latinos were about 14 percent of all U.S. workers.
In the early 1980s, about six percent of all unionized workers in the
United States were Latinos. In 2007, almost 12 percent of union workers
were Latinos.

National Hispanic Heritage Month, first declared in 1988, runs from
September 15 to October 15. September 15 marks the independence from
Spain of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua;
September 16 is Mexican independence day; and Chile celebrates its
independence on September 18.

The full report can be found here.

En Espanol

Additional information is available from the following organizations:



Rich Jones
The Bell Policy Center



Bruce Nissen


Research Institute for Social and Economic Policy Center for Labor Research and Studies

Florida International University Miami, FL 33199


Fax: 305-348-2241


Matthew Weinstein

Progressive Maryland


New Jersey

Jon Shure

New Jersey Policy Perspective

Mark A. Price, Ph.D.

Keystone Research Center


New York
David Dyssegaard Kallick

Fiscal Policy Institute
(212) 721-7164
(212) 721-5415

North Carolina

John Quinterno

NC Budget & Tax Center
(919) 856-3185


Amy Hanauer

Policy Matters Ohio

(216) 361-9801 (phone)
(216) 361-9810 (fax)


Don Baylor

Center for Public Policy Priorities
(512) 320-0222 ext. 108


Catherine Singley

National Council of La Raza (NCLR)
202) 785-1670

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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