How Unions Can Help Shrink The Gender Wage Gap

Women in particular may experience benefits from joining unions: According to data from the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), unionized women who work full time are typically paid 19% more than women who are not in a union, resulting in them making roughly $10,000 more a year. (Unionized men who work full time are typically paid 14% more than men workers who are not in a union, or the equivalent of roughly an extra $8,000 a year.) Women currently make up nearly half of union members.

“Women in unions are paid higher wages and experience smaller wage gaps than non-unionized women,” says Adrienne DerVartanian, senior counsel for education and workplace justice at the NWLC. “In addition, unions may also help workers secure better benefits. When you look at paid leave, such as paid sick days, union members have greater rates of access to those kinds of leave.”


“We are in a tremendous moment of excitement and opportunity for unions,” says DerVartanian. “If you’re reading the news, you’re spotting headlines about union organizing and successes all across the country and in multiple industries. But sometimes, of course, workers face challenges from their employers when they try to organize unions.”


“Workers are the engine of the workplace,” says DerVartanian. “Treating workers well by providing better and equal wages, in addition to access to benefits such as healthcare and paid time off, can lead to greater workplace stability, which also benefits employers.”