Unions: The Great Pay Equalizer for Women


AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler, left, smacked down a Republican presidential hopefuls claim that unions are the cause of the gender pay gap.

In a recent editorial, AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler debunks a ridiculous claim by Republican presidential hopeful and former Hewlett-Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina that union workplaces foster pay discrepancies between men and women.

“Not only is it ironic for a woman who laid off 30,000 workers and still received a $20 million severance package to talk about wage gaps at all, but Fiorina’s logic that unions inherently encourage the gender pay gap is flawed,” wrote Shuler.

READ: “Actually, Carly, Unions are the Great Pay Equalizer”

Shuler correctly points out that the gender wage gap among union members is half the size of the wage gap among non-union workers, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Unionized working women on average earn 90.6 percent of what their male peers earn while non-union working women earn 81.3 percent of what their male peers earn. Union women are also more likely to have health insurance, paid sick days and a fair scheduling policy at work, than in non-union work environments.

The Washington Post’s Wonkblog said Fiorina’s logic “really goes astray” when it comes to blaming the pay gap on unions.

“The union benefit goes far beyond just facts and figures,” writes Shuler. “Every single one of those women has a voice on the job thanks to her union and the power of collective bargaining.”