Racial Differences in Union Membership and Wages

New data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics offers data on women’s membership in labor unions. In 2020, there were 14,253,000 workers who were members of labor unions. This was 10.8 percent of all employed workers. Union membership reached its peak in the 1950s when 35 percent of all workers were members of labor unions.

In 2020, there were 2,055,000 African Americans who were union members. Some 12.3 percent of African American workers were members of labor unions compared to 10.7 percent of White workers. African Americans made up 14.4 percent of all union members.

African Americans who were members of labor unions in 2020 had an average weekly wage of $965. For African Americans who were not union members, the average weekly wage was $766. Thus, for African Americans, on average, nonunion workers made only 79 percent of the wages of African American union members. For Whites, nonunion workers earned, on average, 84 percent of the wages of White union members.

Black women union members had an average weekly wage in 2020 of $917. For Black men who were union members, the average wage was $1,020.

Black union members earned, on average, 82.8 percent of the average wages of White union members.

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