Unions Are Essential to Racial Justice
As the president of the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE), I lead a coalition of 24 national unions representing more than four million professionals. Through bargaining for pay, benefits, and working conditions, our affiliates’ members have created sustainable, family-supporting careers in their industries. While these workplace improvements have raised standards for all professionals, employees of color tend to see some of the greatest gains from union membership. Black union members earn 26% higher wages and are more likely than employees of any other race to be union members. Both of these factors help to narrow the wage gap between Black and white employees. Additionally, while union employees do better than their nonunion counterparts within every racial group, union membership impacts the accumulation of wealth more for nonwhite families than for white families. Nonwhite union families have almost five times the median wealth as their nonunion counterparts.