Washington, D.C. — A new Center for American Progress analysis finds that being part of a union increases wealth for working-class families—defined as households without a four-year college degree—especially working-class families of color. Unions’ efforts to help more workers earn higher wages, have job stability, secure better benefits, and access training opportunities for workers are essential components contributing to working-class families building wealth.
This new report concludes that union membership is narrowing the racial wealth gap and closing the wealth gap between working-class and college-educated workers, creating a path to the middle class for millions. Some of the key findings in the report include:
- Working-class union households hold nearly four times as much median wealth ($201,240) as working-class nonunion households ($52,221).
- Union membership helps close the wealth gap between working-class and college-educated households.
- Union membership helps close the racial wealth gap. Black union households hold more than four times as much wealth as working-class nonunion households. Nonwhite Hispanic union households hold more than five times as much wealth as nonunion households.
- Working-class families of all races and ethnicities are more likely to own their home than nonunion households.
“Union support is at the highest it has been in decades, and it’s no secret as to why. The majority of workers in the United States don’t have a college degree and make up the working class. The union wealth effect has the potential to increase wealth for millions of working-class Americans,” said David Madland, senior fellow and co-author of the report. “Unions are taking a giant step toward narrowing the racial wealth gap.”
Read the report: “Unions Build Wealth for the American Working Class” by Aurelia Glass, David Madland, and Christian E. Weller
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