The report, released yesterday, shows that, on average, joining a union raises immigrants’ wages by 17 percent—about $2 per hour—compared with nonunion immigrant workers. In addition, immigrant workers in unions were much more likely to have health insurance benefits and a pension plan. Click here to read the report, “Unions and Upward Mobility for Immigrant Workers.” The report is the first in a series on the advantages of joining a union for various groups of workers.
Says John Schmitt, senior economist at CEPR and author of the report:
It is the labor market, not the border that is broken. Unionization raises wages and benefits—and substantially—for both U.S.-born and immigrant workers.
CEPR compared wages and benefits of union and nonunion workers in the same state. But if you compare the nonunion wage in states with high union density to the nonunion wage in low density states, you’ll find that union membership raises wages even more than the CEPR study found, says Ross Hyman, lead researcher for the AFL-CIO’s Center for Strategic Research.
AFL-CIO research found that union members earn 28 percent more than nonunion members. The union wage benefit is greatest for people of color and women. Latino union workers earn 50 percent more than their nonunion counterparts. Union women earn 34 percent more than nonunion women. For African Americans, the union advantage is 29 percent. The union advantage for white male workers is 21 percent. For Asian American workers, the union advantage is 4 percent.
The CEPR report also found:
- Immigrant workers in unions were 50 percent more likely to have employer-provided health insurance than immigrant workers who were not in unions.
- Unionized immigrant workers were almost twice as likely as nonunion immigrants workers to have an employer-provided retirement plan.
- Unionization has the biggest impact on the wages and benefits of workers in the 15 lowest-wage occupations, raising wages by almost 20 percent and more than doubling health and retirement plan coverage rates.
To learn more about the benefits of union membership for immigrant workers, visit the websites of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA) here and the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) here.