Press Release Economic Crisis and Recovery Jobs Unions United States Workers

Young Workers in Unions Have Extra Reasons to Celebrate Labor Day: Better Pay and Benefits

September 01, 2022

Contact: KL Conner, 202-281-4159Mail_Outline

Washington — The US labor movement may be seeing a renaissance thanks in part to recent high-profile union organizing efforts driven by young workers. In a new analysis, CEPR’s Hayley Brown finds that workers under 35, in particular, have much to gain from unionization.

The Union Advantage for Young Workers: Higher Wages and More Benefits reveals that after controlling for systemic differences, union representation for workers under 35 means higher median hourly earnings and increased coverage by employer-sponsored health insurance and retirement plans. 

The analysis shows the following union advantage for workers under 35:

  • An 11.3 percent increase in median hourly wages
  • A 37.9 percent increase in employer-provided health insurance
  • An 89.8 percent increase in employer-sponsored retirement plan coverage 

Unions have historically acted as a significant constraint on economic inequality. The analysis shows union wage advantages are highest for young Hispanic and Black workers, and the union benefit advantages are highest for young Hispanic and Asian workers. 

“The advantages of union representation for younger workers make reinforcing the labor movement a critical investment in our collective future,” said Brown. “It is vital to empower workers by protecting and supporting their unions.”

# # #

More: annual data on union membership in 2021

Support Cepr

If you value CEPR's work, support us by making a financial contribution.