Posted on January 23, 2015

(Washington, D.C.)  The gender wage gap among union members is 40 percent smaller than for non-union workers, according to new analysis by the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) of data released this morning by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

“Today’s data show that union membership boosts wages for all workers—but especially for women,” said Joan Entmacher, Vice President for Family Economic Security. “The wage gap for women in unions is much smaller than for women who are non-union workers.  But last year the rate of union membership for women was flat.  To promote equal pay for women, it’s time for lawmakers to stop the attacks on unions—and strengthen workers’ rights to organize.”

Gender wage gap for union members is 40 percent smaller than for non-union workers.

  • Among union members, women working full time typically make 89.1 percent of what their male counterparts make weeklya wage gap of 10.9 cents.

  • Among non-union workers, women working full time typically make 81.8 percent of what their male counterparts make weeklya wage gap of 18.2 cents.*

Women’s union wage premium is 1.2 times as large as men’s.

  • Union members typically make more per week than non-union workersbut the bonus is larger for women.

  • Female union members who work full time typically make $904 per week32 percent ($217) more than female non-union workers who typically make $687 per week. In contrast, male union members who work full time typically make $1,015 per week21 percent ($175) more than male non-union workers who typically make $840 per week.

  • Among women, Latina workers experience particularly high financial benefits from union membership. Among full-time workers, Latina union members typically make 46 percent more ($237 per week) than Latina non-union workers. Among African American women working full time, union members typically make 34 percent more than non-union workersa wage premium of $202 per week. For Asian women this figure is 14 percent more ($116 per week) and for white women it is 32 percent more ($225 per week).

The rate of union membership remained flat for women between 2013 and 2014

  • The number of union members increased by 48,000 workers between 2013 and 2014 but the rate of union membershipthe percentage of employees who were members of unionsdeclined 0.2 of a percentage point to 11.1 percent.

  • The percentage of employed women who were union members remained constant between 2013 and 2014 at 10.5 percent, while the rate for men dropped by 0.2 of a percentage point to 11.7 percent.

*Technical note:

Unless otherwise noted, all data come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Union Members 2014 release (http://www.bls.gov/news.release/union2.nr0.htm). BLS data on union membership include all employed wage and salary workers 16 and older. Figures are annual averages. Data are not available broken down by gender and sector together. Data on union representation (workers represented by unions include both workers who are union members as well as those who do are not members but whose jobs are covered by a union contract) are not reported here but are similar to those for union membership. Wage gaps in this analysis are calculated based on median weekly earnings. These data differ slightly from the often-used measure of median annual earnings for full-time, year-round workers. Using that measure, women typically make 78 percent of what men make (see National Women’s Law Center, The Wage Gap is Stagnant For Nearly A Decade (September 2014) available at http://www.nwlc.org/resource/wage-gap-stagnant-nearly-decade).

 

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 Contact: Maria Patrick
                mpatrick@nwlc.org
                202-588-5180