Union workers earn $11,000 a year more, study finds

Union workers in 2011 earned on average nearly $11,000 a year more than their non-union counterparts, according to newly released data from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The bureau’s annual report also shows that union workers got bigger weekly pay raises than non-union workers in 2011.

Overall, union workers were paid 29 percent more than their non-union counterparts last year, according to the report, which was released Jan. 27.

“We often say it pays to be union, and this report shows that it’s literally true,” said Machinists Union District Lodge 751 President Tom Wroblewski. “That’s the union advantage.”

According to the new data, union workers had average take-home pay of $938 a week in 2011, which equals $48,776 a year. That figure was up 2.3 percent from 2010.

On the other hand, non-union workers were paid on average only $729 a week, or $37,908 a year, which was a scant 1.7 percent increase compared to 2010.

The difference — $10,868 – is great enough to make a real difference in the lives of working Americans, said Wroblewski.

“For most families, $11,000 a year means it’s easier to buy a car or a home, save for a child’s education or take a family vacation,” he said. “These are the basic components of an American middle-class lifestyle, and each one is easier to achieve if you’ve got a union contract.”

For manufacturing workers who produce durable goods – like airplanes or airplane parts — average pay for union workers is 10 percent greater than pay for non-union workers doing similar jobs, the report says. But for workers in maintenance and repair occupations – like aircraft, truck or bus mechanics – pay for union workers is a whopping 35 percent greater.

Washington state has the nation’s fourth-highest union density rate, with 19 percent of all workers belonging to a union last year, the federal report said.

That helps Washington’s overall economy, Wroblewski said.

“Good union paychecks support local economies, because our members have more money to spend with local businesses,” he said. “That’s one reason why we talk about how District 751 helps build better communities.”

A separate federal report last fall also showed the union members typically have far better benefit packages to go with their superior pay.

That study found that as of May 2011, 93 percent of union workers had employer-provided health care benefits, 93 percent had retirement benefits and 85 percent had life insurance benefits.

On the other hand, only 69 percent of non-union workers had health care benefits through their employer, only 64 percent had some kind of retirement plan, and only 57 percent had life insurance.

In addition:

  • 84 percent of union members receive paid sick leave from their employers, compared to 64 percent of non-union workers; and
  • 59 percent of union members receive paid personal leave days, compared to 38 percent of non-union workers.

“Having good benefits means you aren’t paying huge sums out of pocket for things like routine medical expenses,” said Wroblewski. “Good retirement benefits mean you’ll be able to live comfortably after you decide to quit working. These things are important to our members, and they’re priorities for us when we negotiate contracts.”

Originally formed in 1935 to represent hourly workers at the Boeing Co., District Lodge 751 of the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers now represents more than 31,000 working men and women at 45 employers across Washington, Oregon and California. In December, District 751 members used collective bargaining to reach an agreement that ensures Boeing’s new 737 MAX will be built in Puget Sound.

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

Advertisements
Comments
4 Responses to “Union workers earn $11,000 a year more, study finds”
  1. Willie Newell says:

    This validates what I have always known. “LIVE BETTER, WORK UNION”

Trackbacks
Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] recent federal wage data shows that union workers earn on average $10,868 a year more than non-union […]

  2. […] summary of a federal report on wages that shows union workers earn nearly $11,000 a year more than their non-union […]

  3. […] “We gave away a lot of union packets,” said Staff Assistant Ken Howard. “It was a good organizing tool that helped educate the public on the benefits of union membership.” […]



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

%d bloggers like this: