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You’re sure to strike a nerve in many circles if you bring up the topic of unions and, in this case, union wages.
Unions have been receiving a lot of attention lately. Just this week Michigan’s governor signed right-to-work legislation that makes it illegal for unions to compel non-union employees in the private and public sectors, with some exceptions, to pay dues. (Georgia is also a right-to-work state). AT&T continues to negotiate new agreements with some of its unionized employees, although its 22,000 wireline workers in Georgia and other parts of the Southeast recently ratified new three-year contract.
CNN Money, relying on Bureau of Labor Statistics data, has looked into how the average pay of the top unions in this country stacks up against non-union workers’ wages. The bottom line is that across the board union wages are higher. Here are some of CNN’s highlights:
Government workers: “These workers make a median of $973 a week, roughly $230 more than their non-union counterparts.”
Teachers: “The union members earn $224 a week more than non-union educators, with median weekly earnings at $1,038.”
Firefighters and police officers: “Union workers make about $1,008 a week, and non-union workers make $627.”
Factory workers: “Union workers make about $836 a week, $56 a week more than non-union employees.”
Construction workers: “Union workers earn about $361 more per week than their non-union counterparts.”
Transportation and warehousing workers: “Union employees earn about $215 more per week, or 30%, than non-union workers.”
Utilities workers: “Union employees in this industry tend to earn 10.2% more per week than non-union workers.”
Georgia ranked 49th in union membership in 2011, with 3.9 percent of wage and salary workers belonging to unions. About 12 percent of U.S. workers belong to unions.