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Unions and Upward Mobility for Women Workers

Unions and Upward Mobility for Women Workers

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This report uses national data from the Current Population Survey (CPS) to show that unionization raises the wages of the typical woman worker by 11.2 percent compared to their non-union peers. The study goes on to show that unionization also increases the likelihood that a woman worker will have health insurance and a pension. The study also notes that union membership results in health care and pension gain on par with the gains of a college education.
This report uses national data from the Current Population Survey (CPS) to show that unionization raises the wages of the typical woman worker by 11.2 percent compared to their non-union peers. The study goes on to show that unionization also increases the likelihood that a woman worker will have health insurance and a pension. The study also notes that union membership results in health care and pension gain on par with the gains of a college education.

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Published by: Center for Economic and Policy Research on Dec 02, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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10/16/2012

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Unions and Upward Mobility forWomen Workers
 John Schmitt
December 2008
Center for Economic and Policy Research
1611 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 400Washington, D.C. 20009202-293-5380www.cepr.net
 
Unions and Upward Mobility for Women Workers
i
Contents
Executive Summary...........................................................................................................................................1
 
Introduction........................................................................................................................................................2
 
 Women Workers in Unions Earn More, More Likely to Have Benefits...................................................3
 
Conclusion..........................................................................................................................................................5
 
References...........................................................................................................................................................6
 
 Appendix.............................................................................................................................................................7
 
 About the Author
 John Schmitt is Senior Economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington,DC.
 Acknowledgments
 The author thanks Hye Jin Rho and Matt Sherman for research assistance. The Center forEconomic and Policy Research gratefully acknowledges financial support for this project from the Arca Foundation, the Public Welfare Foundation, and the Ford Foundation. The findings andconclusions presented in this report remain those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflectthe opinions of these foundations.
 
Unions and Upward Mobility for Women Workers
1
Executive Summary
In 2007, women made up 45 percent of union members. If the share of women in unions continuesto grow at the same rate as it has over the last 25 years, women will be the majority of the unionized workforce by 2020. This paper uses the most recent data available to examine the impact of unionization on the pay andbenefits of women in the paid workforce. The data suggest that even after controlling for systematicdifferences between union and non-union workers, union representation substantially improves thepay and benefits that women receive.On average, unionization raised women’s wages by 11.2 percent – about $2.00 per hour – comparedto non-union women with similar characteristics. Among women workers, those in unions wereabout 19 percentage points more likely to have employer-provided health insurance and about 25percentage points more likely to have an employer-provided pension.For the average woman, joining a union has a much larger effect on her probability of having healthinsurance (an 18.8 percentage-point increase) than finishing a four-year college degree would (an 8.4percentage-point increase, compared to a woman with similar characteristics who has only a highschool diploma). Similarly, unionization raises the probability of a woman having a pension by 24.7percentage points, compared to only a 13.1 percent increase for completing a four-year collegedegree (relative to a high school degree).For the average woman, a four-year college degree boosts wages by 52.6 percent, relative to a woman with similar characteristics who has only a high school degree. The comparably estimatedunion wage premium is 11.2 percent – over 20 percent of the full four-year college effect.

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