This Women’s History Month is a perfect time to celebrate the capacity for upward mobility women have gained in the workforce–especially when it comes to labor unions.
Women have a great deal to gain from joining a union, with union victories working to pave the way for workers to bargain for affordable family healthcare, fair wages, improved working conditions, and a better life for their families.
There are so many reasons women benefit so much from the union advantage:
Being in a union is good for a woman’s health.
When it comes to both fiscal and physical health, being in a union is the way to go. Unionization dramatically raises the probability of a woman having a pension (53.4 percent) and an employer-provided health insurance plan (36.8 percent).
Unions have been a powerful force for women’s equality.
Collective bargaining cuts down on employer favoritism, which helps women–and importantly, women of color–get a fair chance at work. Unionized women of color, for example, earn almost 35 percent more than nonunion women of color.
Unionization results in significantly higher wages for women of all education levels.
Being a member of a union raises women’s wages by 12.9 percent compared to their nonunion peers. That’s a pay increase of $222 a week–which adds up to $11,544 a year.
Unions protect workers’ rights regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender.
In a country where it’s still legal for an employer to fire someone for being gay in 29 states, and for being transgender in 34, having a union can make all the difference.
Unions help close the wage gap.
Despite the fact the gender wage gap overall hasn’t made any progress in the last five years, it’s been shrinking among workers who belong to a union, declining 2.6 percent between 2013 and 2012. The gender gap between what unionized male workers make and what unionized female workers make is just 9.4 percent, compared to 18.7 percent among nonunion workers.
Considering the great boost to equality, pay and benefits that unions bring, it’s important that anyone who cares about the well-being of women workers also care about unions.
So spread the word. While we can’t change the world in a day, speaking out about this important issue is a good start.
And never forget why a woman’s place is in her union.