SEATTLE (Aug. 29, 2019) — As Labor Day weekend approaches, the Washington State Labor Education and Research Center has release a “first of its kind” report detailing the economic impact of unions on Washington workers. The Union Effect: Raising Standards for Workers Across Washington released today presents clear evidence on how unions raise workers’ wages and benefits, and reduce the use of public assistance.
The report finds that workers covered by a union contract in Washington state, on average, earn 7.2 percent more than comparable non-union workers — or an additional $3,500 per year.
In addition, Washington unions contribute to economic justice by reducing the gaps for workers facing race and gender discrimination, especially in low-wage jobs. According to the report:
► Workers of color in Washington who are union members earn 6 percent more — 10 percent more in lower-wage jobs — and have a 21 percent greater likelihood of health insurance coverage and a 45 percent greater likelihood of pension coverage.
► Immigrant workers in unions have a 43 percent greater likelihood of health insurance and a 77 percent greater likelihood of pension coverage.
The “Union Effect” report demonstrates how unions positively impact Washington state’s economy and worker well-being by raising statewide earnings by an estimated $1.83 billion annually, and by ensuring 94,000 more workers have health care insurance and 142,000 more are enrolled in employment-based retirement plans.
The mission of the Washington State Labor Education and Research Center is to deliver high-quality education, training programs and research relevant to the working women and men of Washington State. The Labor Center builds the skills, confidence and knowledge workers need to improve their work lives and their communities, and promote a just economy through collective action. As a unique program within higher education in the state, we use the best practices of adult education and applied research to serve our dynamic and diverse labor force, including the new Rights at Work Washington website.