The Changing Face of Unions
October 18, 2012 7:19 am
By: Matthew McDermott
You may have noticed Unionosity’s ongoing efforts to cover non-traditional organizing. We are of the opinion that unions are key to reducing the inequality in this country. As such, we are just as invested in the efforts of housekeepers, carwasheros, and grocery workers to unite as we are the crucial efforts to protect the collective bargaining rights of public employee unions. Minority workers are integral to the future of organized labor.
New research from the Apollo Group/National Journal shows that African-American and Latinos are most likely to hold a favorable opinion of unions. From the National Journal:
The findings underscore the role that labor unions play in the lives of blacks and Latinos workers, and how many people have historically looked to unions to help with pay increases. Nationally, compared with whites on similar jobs, Latinos and blacks earn an estimated 74 cents and 66 cents to the dollar, respectively.
As an example, collective bargaining increases Latino workers’ earnings collectively by as much as 43 percent, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said at a recent event on the Latino workforce.
Black workers are most likely to be unionized, federal figures show.
In comparison, here is the ratio, by race and ethnicity, of the U.S. workforce, plus the percentage who are in unions, based on 2011 figures:
- Blacks: 9.4 percent and 13.5 percent.
- Whites: 71.7 percent and 11.6 percent.
- Asians: 4.2 percent and 10.1 percent.
- Hispanics: 12.8 percent and 9.7 percent.”
The study implies that minority workers are seeing unions as one of the best ways to attack wage inequality. In 1983, 50 percent of union members were male and white. We have seen what happens when union membership diminishes; the hope is that as union demographics shift, minority workers will get a fairer piece of the pie.
Image from here