August 30, 2016

Not a Union Member? It Could Cost You

[aesop_quote type=”block” background=”#2695b9″ text=”#ffffff” align=”left” size=”2″ quote=”A new report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) shows that the declining rate of union membership is costing nonunion workers $133 billion annually in lost wages.” parallax=”on” direction=”right”]

A new report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) shows that the declining rate of union membership is costing nonunion workers $133 billion annually in lost wages. This massive sum – which is more than the economic hit workers take when we enter into unfair trade agreements with low-wage countries – is a key reason why hardworking Americans are struggling with stagnant wages and inequality.

[aesop_quote type=”pull” background=”#ffffff” text=”#cd9727″ width=”30%” align=”right” size=”2″ quote=”This new report from EPI confirms that union membership is the one clear path to a better life.” cite=”UFCW International President Marc Perrone” parallax=”on” direction=”left”]

EPI found that by establishing pay and benefit standards, unions boost wages for all workers. In fact, if union density in 2013 was as high as it was in 1979, nonunion private sector men would have earned an extra $52 each week. This is the first study providing a broad estimate of the wage decline for nonunion workers as a result of the erosion of unions.

This report should also remind us that the benefits of a union contract goes beyond wages.

Earlier this year Oxfam America published a report titled No Relief: Denial of Bathroom Breaks in the Poultry Industry, which documented the union difference when it comes to workplace rights and safety. This shocking study found that nonunion workers wore diapers when denied bathroom breaks by irresponsible employers.

Also, a union contract is often the only way women can earn equal pay for equal work and, in some states, the only line of defense for all workers facing workplace discrimination. Finally, according to the Center for Economic Policy and Research, black union workers experience higher wages and better access to health insurance and retirement benefits than their non-union peers.

“This new report from EPI confirms that union membership is the one clear path to a better life,” said UFCW International President Marc Perrone. “Now more than ever, we in labor must discuss openly the amazing benefits that come to people who join unions. The UFCW union family is committed to proving that we can bring better jobs and futures to every hard-working community.”