For Immediate Release

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New AFL-CIO Report: Landmark Year in Collective Bargaining Will Raise Wages for Millions

WASHINGTON - Working people are achieving significant victories through the most expansive period of collective bargaining in modern labor history, according to a new report by the AFL-CIO’s Center for Strategic Research.

“This country is having an important debate about raising wages and tackling income inequality,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “This report provides clear evidence that joining a union and bargaining with your employer is the most effective way to give workers the power to raise their own wages. When working people speak with one voice, our economy is stronger, and all workers do better.”

The AFL-CIO report represents the most comprehensive look at the current state of collective bargaining in a period when an estimated 5 million American workers will bargain for new contracts.

According to the report, working people who bargained for new contracts in the first half of 2015 saw their wages increase by an average of 4.3%, an increase of $1,147 a year for an average wage earner in the United States. These increases are up from 2.9% in the first half of 2014, with substantial wage wins occurring in sectors from nursing and oil to airline pilots and teachers. 

Other notable statistics from the report include:

  • Among private sector workers: grocery stores, health care, rail transportation, telecom, and auto manufacturing combined account for 31% of workers covered by newly bargained contracts.
  • The contracts in the top eight industries include workers from 22 AFL-CIO affiliated unions.
  • A combined 2.4 million union members will bargain for new contracts in the top eight industries negotiating contracts.

The full report, complete with bargaining trends and an industry analysis of where workers are bargaining can be found here.


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The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) works tirelessly to improve the lives of working people. We are the democratic, voluntary federation of 56 national and international labor unions that represent 12.5 million working men and women.

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