February 2011

Unions Impact Wages, But How Much?

While unions have a significant impact on wages as well as overall compensation and benefit levels, the size of the impact is influenced by occupation, industry, employer size, and geographic region. The 2010 annual report on Union Members prepared by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows current union membership rate at about 12% (14.7 million members), but there is a huge difference in the degree of organization by type of employer. Public sector workers are over 36% organized, while only about 7% of private sector workers are represented by unions (note that there are five times as many employees in the private sector).

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