The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Alan Barber, (202) 293-5380 x115

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

Benefits and wage gains from unionization large by any measure.


A new report by the Center for Economic and Policy Research
(CEPR) documents a large wage and benefit advantage for Asian Pacific
American (APA) workers in unions, relative to their non-union

The report, "Unions and Upward Mobility for APA Workers,"
analyzes data from the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey (CPS)
from the period 2003-2007 to reveal a number of advantages of
unionization for APA workers.

"As a share of the union workforce, only Latinos are growing at a rate
faster than Asian Pacific Americans," 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 APA workers."

The report
finds that unionization raises the pay of APA workers by about $2.00
per hour. APA workers are 19 percentage points more likely to have
employer-provided health insurance and 25 percentage points more likely
to have an employer-provided pension plan than their non-union

Among the other findings in the study:

  • about 12.5 percent of Asian Pacific American workers were in a union or represented by a union at their workplace
  • almost half (48.5 percent) of APA workers in unions were women
  • in 2003-2007, on average, two-thirds (66.1 percent) of unionized APA workers were immigrants
  • nearly half (49.7 percent) of unionized APA workers had a four year college degree or more
  • more than four-in-ten (43.2 percent) unionized APA workers were in the public sector
  • unionized
    APA 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.

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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