Study: Union workers earn $10,000 a year more

The typical American union worker’s weekly paycheck was $200 greater in 2010 than the paychecks for workers in non-union jobs, according to new federal wage data.

In manufacturing, union workers made an average of 10 percent more money than their non-union counterparts last year, while transportation sector workers took home wages that were 18 percent higher.

Those are among the findings of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ annual report on union membership and pay, which was released earlier this year.

The data shows how important a union contract can be to rebuilding America’s middle class, said Machinists Union District Lodge 751 President Tom Wroblewski.

“A difference of $200 a week in a person’s paycheck means an extra $10,000 a year,” he said. “That can make a real difference in their ability to buy a home or save for their children’s educations.

“It also makes a difference in how much money they have to spend at local businesses, which in turn makes the whole community more prosperous,” Wroblewski added. “That’s why we talk about how District 751 helps build better communities. Good union paychecks build strong local economies.”

According to the federal data, the typical union worker earned $917 a week, which is roughly equal to a wage of $22.93 an hour, or median annual pay of $47,680.

However, the typical American working without a union contract earned only $717 a week, which is roughly $17.93 an hour. The median annual pay of a non-union worker in America is $37,284 – or more than $10,000 a year less.

In the manufacturing sector, union workers who make durable goods (like cars or airplanes) earned a median wage of $21.95 an hour, or $878 a week, which made their annual paycheck to be $45,656.

That’s about $4,000 each year more than the typical non-union worker in the durable goods industry. Their median wage is $19.90 an hour or $796 a week.

Transportation workers – including those in the airline industry – fare even better when they’ve got union contracts. The bureau’s survey found that the median pay for union workers in the transportation industry is $23.35 an hour, or $934 a week, which works out to median annual pay of $48,568.

However, their non-union counterparts are paid only $18.13 an hour, which is equal to median weekly pay of $725, or median annual pay of $37,700. That’s a difference of more than $5 an hour.

The bureau has yet to report its findings on health care and retirement benefits for 2010, but previous data covering 2009 showed that nationwide, 80 percent of workers with union contracts had company health insurance, while 76 percent have a company-sponsored retirement plan.

In contrast, only 56 percent of non-union workers had company health insurance in 2009, while 45 percent of non-union workers had retirement plans.

Originally formed in 1935 to represent hourly workers at Boeing, District Lodge 751 of the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers now represents nearly 27,000 working men and women at 44 employers across Washington, Oregon and California. In 2010, District 751 members ratified new contracts with 22 of those employers, without a single workday lost to strikes.

To contact a District 751 officer for information on how a union contract could help you, click here.

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  1. […] health and paid leave benefits follows a reported released earlier this year that showed union workers are paid on average 28 percent better than non-union […]



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