Press Release Disability Unions United States Workers

Disabled People Benefit From Union Membership, But Union Density Lacking

July 27, 2022

Contact: KL Conner, 202-281-4159Mail_Outline

Washington — Even 32 years after the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), disabled workers have not achieved sufficient economic parity with nondisabled workers. A new analysis by CEPR’s Hayley Brown illustrates how unionization could help close the economic gap for disabled workers with disabilities. 

Union membership generally offers higher wages. That benefit is more pronounced for disabled workers in a union. Unions can also act to enforce provisions of the ADA, integrating legal protections into union contracts and providing access to resources.

Low union density can be a barrier to union membership for disabled workers. The number of unionized workplaces has plummeted over the last 40 years.

“More must be done to increase union density and to center workers with disabilities at the negotiating table and beyond,” said Brown. 

Brown suggests legislation — such as the Protecting the Right to Organize Act — increased enforcement of existing labor protections, and a demonstrated commitment from the labor movement to prioritize the needs of disabled workers. 

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