• Unions raise wages of unionized workers by roughly 20% and raise compensation, including both
wages and benefits, by about 28%.
• Unions reduce wage inequality because they raise wages more for low- and middle-wage workers
than for higher-wage workers, more for blue-collar than for white-collar workers, and more for
workers who do not have a college degree.
• Strong unions set a pay standard that nonunion employers follow. For example, a high school
graduate whose workplace is not unionized but whose industry is 25% unionized is paid 5% more
than similar workers in less unionized industries.
• The impact of unions on total nonunion wages is almost as large as the impact on total union wages.
• The most sweeping advantage for unionized workers is in fringe benefits. Unionized workers
are more likely than their nonunionized counterparts to receive paid leave, are approximately
18% to 28% more likely to have employer-provided health insurance, and are 23% to 54%
more likely to be in employer-provided pension plans.
• Unionized workers receive more generous health benefits than nonunionized workers. They also
pay 18% lower health care deductibles and a smaller share of the costs for family coverage. In
retirement, unionized workers are 24% more likely to be covered by health insurance paid for by
• Unionized workers receive better pension plans. Not only are they more likely to have a guaranteed
benefit in retirement, their employers contribute 28% more toward pensions.
• Unionized workers receive 26% more vacation time and 14% more total paid leave (vacations and