The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Alan Barber, 202-293-5380 x115

Unionization Substantially Improves the Pay and Benefits of Women Workers

Gains from union membership large, even compared to benefits of college education.


A new report by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) documents a large wage and benefit advantage for women workers in unions relative to their non-union counterparts.

The report, "Unions and Upward Mobility for Women Workers,"
found that unionized women workers earned, on average, 11.2 percent
more than their non-union peers. In addition, women in unions were much
more likely to have health insurance benefits and a pension plan.

"For women, joining a union makes as much sense as going to college," said John Schmitt,
a Senior Economist at CEPR and the author of the study. "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."

The report, which analyzed data from the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey
(CPS), found that unionization raises the pay of women workers by
almost $2.00 per hour. According to the report, women workers in unions
were also 19 percentage points more likely to have employer-provided
health insurance, all the more significant, since women pay higher
premium rates individually than men. Women workers were also 26
percentage points more likely to have an employer-provided pension plan
than women workers who were not in unions.

The study
also shows that unionization strongly benefited women workers in
otherwise low-wage occupations. Among women workers in the 15
lowest-paying occupations, union members earned 14 percent more than
those workers who were not in unions. In the same low-wage occupations,
unionized women were 26 percentage points more likely to have
employer-provided health insurance and 23 percentage points more likely
to have a pension plan than their non-union counterparts.

Additional state-specific information is available from the following organizations:

Lawrence D. Weiss Ph.D., M.S.
Executive Director
Alaska Center for Public Policy
(907) 276-2277

Susan Duerksen
Director of Communications
Center on Policy Initiatives
(619) 584-5744 x64

North Carolina
John Quinterno
NC Budget & Tax Center
(919) 856-3185

Mark A. Price, Ph.D.
Keystone Research Center
(717) 255-7181

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.

(202) 293-5380