Union Advantage For Benefits Grows Wider

Union workers receive employer-paid benefits that far exceed the benefits employers provide for nonunion workers, and the union advantage is growing wider. For years, employers have been canceling benefit coverage and shifting more of the remaining costs to workers. Unions have been able to fight off this employer attack on benefits, but nonunion workers have been left with inadequate health care protections and no retirement security.

The total union advantage stood at $10.27 per hour in June 2005, with union workers earning an average of $33.42 per hour in total compensation and nonunion workers averaging $23.15, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) June 2005 survey of employer costs.

The value of the benefits that union workers receive is double the value for nonunion workers. On average, union workers receive $12.50 an hour in benefits, compared with $6.38 for nonunion workers, according to the BLS.

The largest differences in union and nonunion benefits occur in the critical areas of health care and retirement benefits. Employers contribute $3.46 per hour for health care benefits for union workers, compared with just $1.42 for nonunion workers.

Union workers receive $2.37 an hour for retirement benefits, compared with just $.71 for nonunion workers.

The latest data on the union/nonunion differential in benefits coverage come from the new Bureau of Labor Statistics 2005 employee benefits survey. The BLS survey collects information from 4,560 private-industry companies with 103 million workers. It is by far the most comprehensive and reliable benefits survey available. The new 2005 survey reveals the following advantages in union benefits:  Read the entire report here.