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Joint Economic Committee Democrats Chairman - Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA)

Unions provide major economic benefits for workers and families

Workers get significant economic benefits from labor unions, even if they are not members of a union themselves. While union membership rates among workers remained at historic lows in 2021, the year also witnessed increased union activity and favorable public opinion towards them. The last year has seen historic success of unionization efforts. Unionization took place at the JFK8 Amazon warehouse in Staten Island, New York, at over 110 Starbucks stores across the country and among graduate students at universities. New union organizing reflects a growing awareness of the economic benefits that unions have to offer all workers, including those who are not union members.

  • Unionization boosts wages for workers industry-wide, even if their workplaces are not unionized. Unionized workers earn 10.2% more than their non-union peers, while also raising wages and benefits for all workers in their industry.
  • Unions can play a critical role in narrowing racial and gender economic disparities. Unionization increases wages by 17.3% for Black workers and 23.1% for Latino workers.
  • Significant union activity took place in 2021, including a string of high-profile strikes, and unions’ popularity reached a level not seen since 1965.

Supporting workers’ right to organize is a key way to help boost wages and support quality jobs. Actions by Congress and the Biden administration will help protect the right to organize and increase the number of union jobs, ultimately creating significant economic benefits for workers and the broader economy.

Read the full report.