Al Jazeera on Unionization, Pay Discrimination

The latest report from Murphy Professors Ruth Milkman and Stephanie Luce, The State of the Unions: A Profile of Organized Labor in New York City, New York State, and the United States, continues to gain coverage, this time over at Al Jazeera. In an article by Murphy alum Ned Resnikoff (Unionization found to reduce pay discrimination, Al Jazeera, 9/7/15), the writer outlines some findings from the report:

The earnings gap between black and nonblack workers is smaller among union members than among members of the labor force as a whole, according to a report issued Friday from the City University of New York’s Murphy Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies.

The report found that unionized black workers make a median $21.62 per hour, roughly 10 percent less than unionized nonblack workers’ $24.04 hourly wage. Nonunion black workers earned a median $13.65 per hour, compared with nonunion nonblack workers’ $17.00 — a nearly 20 percent pay disadvantage.

A similar study issued late last month by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research found that unionization also narrows the pay gap between men and women, such that unionized women earn 88.7 percent of their male unionized counterparts. Among workers as a whole — union and nonunion — women earn 78 percent of what men take home, on average.

Together the two studies suggest that raising the rate of unionization would help correct some of the most persistent forms of pay discrimination in the U.S.

CUNY sociologist Ruth Milkman, who co-authored the Murphy Institute report, said wage differentials in a unionized workplace tend to be lower across the board. “Unions tend to negotiate both a higher floor and a lower ceiling in terms of wages, so that’s the main thing,” she said.

For the full article, visit Al Jazeera.

See the full report here.