Center for American Progress

RELEASE: Unions Continue To Build Wealth for All Americans
Press Release

RELEASE: Unions Continue To Build Wealth for All Americans

Washington, D.C. — As union membership continues to surge across the United States, newly released data from the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) covering 2022 assets demonstrate that unions build wealth for Americans. A new Center for American Progress analysis finds that union membership increases wealth for all households and tends to provide the biggest boost to groups who have historically had less wealth, such as Black and Hispanic households as well as those without a college degree. Some key findings from the new analysis include: 

  • Union households possess 1.7 times the median wealth of nonunion households. 
  • Union membership narrows the racial wealth gap, closing the distance between the wealth of white households and that of Black, Hispanic, and members of the “other or multiple race” category. Membership in a union increases median wealth between 167 percent and 228 percent for households of color compared with a 37 percent increase in median wealth for white households. 
  • The median wealth of union households is greater than that of nonunion households across every education level. Union contracts provide the largest percentage increase in median wealth for households without a high school degree compared with all other levels of educational attainment. 
  • Union membership closes the wealth gap between working-class and college-educated households. The median wealth of nonunion working-class households is 21 percent of the wealth of college-educated nonunion households, whereas the median wealth of union working-class households is 49 percent that of college-educated union households. 
  • Union households are more likely to own a home and have a retirement plan compared with nonunion households. 

“The relationship between union membership and wealth is significant and demonstrates the crucial role unions play in empowering workers,” said David Madland, a senior fellow for Inclusive Economy at CAP. “Given the increasingly growing public support for unions, policymakers cannot miss their chance to take action to strengthen workers rights, and that starts with passing the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act and the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act. These reforms will protect workers’ rights, provide incentives to unionize, and hold lawbreaking companies accountable.”

Read the column:Unions Continue To Build Wealth for All Americans” by David Madland, Christian E. Weller, and Sachin Shiva

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, please contact Sarah Nadeau at [email protected]. 

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