U.S. Treasury Report Shows Labor Unions Benefit Middle Class Workers and the Economy

November 28, 2023
Labor unions significantly benefit their members, the U.S. economy and middle class workers overall

According to a comprehensive report recently released by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Economic Policy, labor unions significantly benefit their members, the U.S. economy and middle class workers overall. The report found that unions help address challenges faced by middle class workers specifically in the areas of stagnant wages, high housing costs and decreased intergenerational mobility. This, in turn, contributes to a more vibrant, resilient economy.

Key Findings

The key findings of the report were:

  • Unions raise their members’ wages by 10-15% and improve fringe benefits and various workplace procedures such as retirement plans, workplace grievance policies, and predictable schedules. As a result, middle class workers gain greater financial stability and well-being.
  • Unionization’s positive ripple effect extends beyond union workers by driving greater competition which leads to increased wages, job security, workplace safety and civic engagement. All these positive outcomes spill over to workers’ families and communities by supporting improved housing stability, educational investments, and charitable giving.
  • Unions facilitate a fairer economy which benefits all demographic groups by encouraging fair wage practices, reducing race and gender wage gaps, and more equitably representing workers of all races and genders.
  • Unions contribute to economic growth and resilience by reducing inequality in income and economic opportunity by giving equal access to disadvantage individuals who otherwise could not access the necessary resources to gain job skills or start their own businesses.

Growing Unionization Movements

Over the past two years, there has been a more dynamic labor movement and an increased number of union election petitions. This has led the current administration to plan new measures to advance this activity. Among these actions are:

  • Prioritizing the passage of the “Right to Organize Act” and the “Public Sector Freedom to Negotiate Act”.
  • Appointing a General Counsel and Board Member to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to further advance the mission to protect the right of workers to organize in the workplace.
  • Increase funding of the NLRB to enable the expansion of enforcement activities.
  • Creation of a White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment which works with agencies on initiatives to use their existing statutory authority to support worker organizing and bargaining.
  • Signing Executive Order 14063 which requires the use of project labor agreements on federal construction projects of $35 million or more.
  • Mandating employers to pay prevailing wages and adhere to apprenticeship requirements to claim the full value of many clean energy tax incentives put forth in the “Inflation Reduction Act.”