A Reuters analysis of two decades of wages for retail workers found that the pay advantage union workers have enjoyed over non-union employees in that sector is increasing. The weekly pay differential between union and nonunion workers widened from $20 in 2013 to more than $50 in 2019, according to the July 9 report. One reason for the widening pay gap is that unionized workers tend to work more hours per week and on a predictable schedule, while non-union workers often have a “variable schedule” that depends on how busy management thinks the store might be. One non-union worker commented in the Reuters report that his employer could increase his hourly rate without actually giving him a “raise” – because the pay increase can be offset by reducing his weekly hours at work. The analysis also further illustrates the connection between the decline of unionization in the United States and rising income inequality, spurred by a major shift in power from workers to corporations and a regulatory regime that leaves workers unprotected against employers' anti-union efforts. Even as signs emerge of a revitalized interest in organizing, the full picture of the state of the labor movement remains bleak Americans view unions more favorably now than they have since 2003, according to a separate Reuters report on May 13. Over 65% approve of unions. And workers won 72% of union elections in the past five years – meaning a majority voted in favor of unionizing. They won nine out of every 10 last year, amid concerns about workplace safety and health that were growing, or newly revealed, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s the highest win rate for workers seeking to unionize in a decade.
Union workers get higher pay, if they can join
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