Chart Detail

Union wage premium for subgroups

Subgroup Percent union Union wage premium*
Occupation
White collar (1997) 11.6% 2.2%
Blue collar (1997) 20.8 23.3
Education
College (1997) 10.4% 5.1%
High school (1997) 23.6 20.8
All (1992, 1993, 1996) n.a. 24.5
High school or less n.a. 35.5
Wage distribution Estimated union wage premium
Study 1 Study 2 Study 3
Bottom fifth 4.9% 17.2% 20.6% 24.2%
Second fifth 8.9 21.8 16.8 34.6
Middle fifth 14.0 20.6 13.7 30.8
Fourth fifth 20.3 15.5 10.7 24.5
Top fifth 19.1 12.4 6.1 6.1
Average effect 19.0% 11.9% n.a.
Percent bottom 40% to top 40% 35% 140 223 193%

* Percent by which the wages of those covered by collective bargaining agreements exceed wages of comparable nonunion workers

Source: Mishel and Walters (2003, Table 2.3a); Gunderson (2003, Table 5.1 and Appendix C); and premium estimates by fifth from: 1) Gittleman and Pierce (2007), 2) Schmitt (2008), and 3) Card, Lemieux, and Riddle (2002). Union coverage by fifth from Schmitt (2008)

Updated May 17, 2012

Documentation and methodology

The analysis builds on Mishel and Walters (2003), Table 2.3A and Gundersen (2003), Table 5.1 and Appendix C. Premium estimates by fifth are from Schmitt (2008); Card, Lemieux, and Riddle (2002); and Gittleman and Pierce (2007). Union coverage by fifth is from Schmitt (2008).

Get the data

Get the data behind the charts.

Explore Our Charts

Subject

Demographic

Select a subject or demographic

Interactive feature

Interactive feature promo image When income grows, who gains?

For the media

Economic Policy Institute Media Relations Department (202) 775–8810 |