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Hope for the rest of America…

April 7, 2009

The report, “Unions and Upward Mobility for Service-Sector Employees,” finds that unionization raises the wages of the average service-sector worker by 10.1 percent, which translates to about $2.00 per hour.

On average, unionization increases the likelihood that the average service-sector worker will have employer provided health insurance by 19 percentage points. Unionized service-sector workers were also 25 percentage points more likely to have a pension than their non-union peers.

“The vast majority of jobs in this country are now in the service sector,” said John Schmitt, a Senior Economist at CEPR and the author of the study. “The data show that workers in service jobs benefit as much from unionization as workers in manufacturing do.”

The impact of unions on service-sector employees in low-wage occupations was even more substantial. For workers in the 15 lowest-paying occupations, unionization raised wages by 15.5 percent. The likelihood of having health insurance increased by about 26 percentage points and the likelihood of having an employer-sponsored pension increased by about 23 percentage points.

“Unions give the biggest boost to workers in low-paying occupations because these are the workers that have the least bargaining power in the labor market,” Schmitt said. “Unionization can turn what would otherwise be low-paying jobs with no benefits into middle-class jobs.”

Over the period covered in the report, 13.3 percent of service-sector workers were either members of a union or covered by a union contract at their workplace.

via Unionization Substantially Increases the Wages of Service-Sector Workers | CommonDreams.org.

I somehow bet The Creative Class blog finds this interesting.

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2 Comments
  1. April 7, 2009 6:45 pm

    Since workers in the service sector benefit as much from unions as manufacturing workers do (according to Mr. Schmitt), it might be wise to note that unions have directly contributed to the steady loss of US manufacturing jobs. Certainly the idea of union membership is also predictated upon the idea that the worker will stay in the same industry for his or her entire career, making union jobs by design “dead-end” jobs.

    Personally I have never understood the modern penchant for unions. Educational opportunities are available to people now that didn’t exist when unions florished. Smart individuals look at the ways they can adapt to changes in the economy, whereas union membership assumes — even depends upon — people being, not individuals with changing knowledge and talents, but “workers,” mere drones in a machine.

    The very notion of unionizing subtly lowers peoples’ self-esteem, persuading them that they have no choices, no particular talents, no unseen chances around the bend.

    I wouldn’t be a member of a union under any circumstances. I value my abilities far too much. Even the term “worker” is demeaning. We are human beings not insects.

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