The economic status of union workers in the United States

Richard Vedder, Charlene Kalenkoski

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Although American labor unions evolved out of poverty, today's typical union worker is relatively affluent. Current Population Survey data show that average annual household earnings in 2002 for full-time union workers were nearly $79,000, nearly double the median of all households (including ones with non-workers), and more than for nonunion worker households. While relatively few union workers are truly "poor," a larger proportion (over one-third for members of teachers' unions) comes from households with over $100,000 in annual income. A puzzle: why do union members tend to support liberal policies and politicians far more than their relative affluence would predict? Perhaps it partly reflects rent-seeking behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)593-603
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Labor Research
Volume27
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2006

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