ABS data shows being in a union delivers better wages

by Greg Jericho

Whether you are old or young, low or high income, working in construction or admin, a labourer or a manager, being in a union delivers you better pay.

The latest characteristics of employment survey from the Bureau of Statistics reveals that being a union member delivers higher wages

This year union members had higher median earnings across all income ranges, all aged groups, almost all skill levels and occupation groups, and all levels of education.

Across the entire labour force, union members had weekly median earnings of $1,520 compared to $1,208 for non-union members.

Across industries the benefit of being in a union is quite clear. In 15 out of the 19 industries, union members had higher median earnings. Those in transport, postal and warehousing have a median weekly income some of $1,706 some $406 higher than the median earnings of $1,300 for non-union members.

Those union members in the hospitality sectors of accommodation and food services, which have been subject to numerous cases of wage theft, had a median income 61% above that of non-union members. Unionised hospitality workers earned $954.80 per week compared to just $593 for non-union workers in that industry.

Workers in administration and support services were among the ones to benefit the most from union membership. Union members in that industry have median weekly earnings of $1,579 some $529 more than the $1,050 earned by non-union members. Construction workers however beenfit the most – their median earnings are some $533 higher than that of non-union members.

Most crucially, the benefits of union membership ae not just limited to those who have been long-time members. The ABS reports that the median weekly earnings for those who have been in a union for less than a year was $1,262 compared to just $1,152 for non-union members.

Younger workers also significantly benefit from being in a union. Union member aged 15-24 had median weekly earnings of $970.90 compared to $600 for non-union members.

The data is clear – whatever your age, occupation type of work, the key to higher wages is to be in a union.

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