Unionized labor represents an ever-smaller share of the American workforce, having fallen to 11.1% in 2014, down from 20.1% in 1983, according the U.S. Labor Department . But as men’s union membership fallen steeply , women, and particularly women of color, have been the majority of new organized workers. Their presence could shift labor’s agenda.
Union membership goes a long way toward closing the gender pay gap: A new analysis by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research shows that women in unions have median weekly earnings 31% higher , on average, than nonunion workers. Even controlling for other factors that influence wages, such as education and age, women in unions still have a 13% “union advantage” over their nonunion counterparts in the same jobs, which translates to around $2.50 per hour, the 2014 study by CEPR found.