Racial Differences in Union Membership and Wages

BLSNew data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that in 2013, 14,528,000 workers were members of labor unions. Labor union members were 11.3 percent of all employed workers. Union membership reached its peak in the 1950s when 35 percent of all workers were union members.

In 2013, there were 2,081,000 African Americans who were union members. Some 13.6 percent of African American workers were members of labor unions compared to 11 percent of White workers. Nearly 15 percent of Black men were union members, compared to 12.6 percent of Black women.

African Americans who were members of labor unions in 2013 had an average weekly wage of $791. For African Americans who were not union members, the average weekly wage was $6o6. Thus, for African Americans, on average, nonunion workers made only 76.6 percent of the wages of African American union members. For Whites, nonunion workers earned, on average, 80.7 percent of the wages of White union members.

Black union members earned, on average, 80.9 percent of the average wages of White union members.

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