Washington, D.C. — Closing America’s persistent racial wealth gap has long been a goal of progressives in the United States. Unions have a history of both protecting the interests of the average worker and also providing more competitive pay and benefits to their members. A new analysis from researchers at the Center for American Progress shows that unions, with the suite of benefits and protections they provide to workers, can play a significant role in growing overall wealth for all workers and reducing the wealth gap for Black and Hispanic households.
Using data from the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances, the authors of the issue brief—Aurelia Glass, David Madland, and Christian E. Weller—found a number of key impacts that union membership has on closing the racial wealth gap and the overall wealth of Americans, including:
- The median union household has more than twice the wealth of the median nonunion household.
- Black households with a union member have median wealth that is more than three times the median wealth of nonunion Black households.
- Hispanic households with a union member have median wealth that is more than five times the median wealth of nonunion Hispanic households.
- White households with a union member have nearly two times the median wealth of nonunion white households.
“A typical union household is more than twice as wealthy as a typical nonunion household,” said Madland. “The findings in our research demonstrate the value of unions and the benefits they provide to individuals and households, especially for Black and Hispanic households. When workers can take home more income, they can also set aside more money toward savings and investments. Although union membership alone can’t close the racial wealth gap, we see how the benefits make up for the financial challenges facing Black and Hispanic workers that have been baked into the economy for years.”
Read the issue brief: “Unions Help Increase Wealth for All and Close Racial Wealth Gaps” by Aurelia Glass, David Madland, and Christian E. Weller.
For more information or to speak with an expert, contact Chris Ford at firstname.lastname@example.org.