Unionized Organizations Impact on Construction Workers

An estimated 15.2 percent of construction workers in the United States is a member of a local labor union. However, construction workers can voluntarily vote to decertify a local union, opt not to pay their monthly fees and dues, or choose to work in unionized organizations. Thus, labor unions must continue to demonstrate how contributing membership dues can benefit construction workers.

How the US Labor Unions Have Evolved

The labor market has undergone substantial change since the 2000 Great Recession. Striking trends have also contributed a lot to the growth of the labor market. There has been a decline in unionization over the past few years. However, contributions towards construction unions in the United States have remained above the national average. Construction workers are the second-most unionized professionals after public administrators. Their contribution to labor markets has made them highly-skilled, productive, and well-paid.

Labor Unions Impact on Construction Workers

The following was found in an analysis of reports by 258 labor unions representing almost a million construction workers in the United States. Labor unions spend the bigger chunk of their membership fees and dues on representation and bargaining. Construction workers contribute an average of $663 in annual fees, dues, and other membership payments. The union spends only two percent of all membership fees and dues on lobbying and political activities.

Increased After-Tax Income

Construction workers gain a lot more benefits by being a member of a labor union. Statistical analysis from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the US Census Bureau shows that contributing to a labor union can increase your after-tax income. Being a union member can increase your annual after-tax income by approximately $4060. Labor unions also increase the chances of a construction worker qualifying for health insurance by almost 14 percent. It also reduces the likelihood of a construction worker relying on food stamps. The annual benefit-to-cost ratio of joining a labor union as a construction worker is very high. For example, an estimated $6.12 returns to the union members in the form of after-tax income for every 1$ that a member contributes as fees and dues.

Impact on the Broader Economy

Contributing to a labor union goes beyond these financial benefits to include higher job satisfaction and better health coverage. In short, there are significant individual benefits to joining a registered labor union. Despite that, unions have a substantial impact on the broader US labor market. An analysis of results from an economic impact report shows that labor unions contribute approximately $3.6 billion in the US labor market’s economic output. These unions also provide $218 million more to states in the form of income tax revenue. Labor unions create over 40000 jobs that would not be there if they never existed. That excludes 33000 direct jobs from expenditure on union households and higher earnings and 10000 positions in labor organizations.

Political Influence

Some critics claim that construction workers’ unions have a lot of political influence. However, data on political campaign spending does not support this claim. Labor unions contributed 10 percent of the $309.6 that was added to the local and state elections in the 2014 elections. Insurance, finance, real estate interests, and businesses combined contributed only 15 percent to the local and state elections. Both self-financed candidates and large individual donors were able to provide only 18% to the 2014 campaigns.

Conclusion

This article demonstrates how the fees and dues of construction workers impact the US economy and the labor market. The average annual union fees and dues can cost a construction worker approximately $663. However, it can, in return, increase their wages by up to $4000 after taxes, which is a six percent gain per dollar invested. Annual contribution to a labor union also increases the chances of a construction worker having better health insurance coverage. Membership to a labor union gives construction workers a voice at their place of work and reduces their reliance on government assistance. Labor unions have generally stimulated the broader US economy, and any attempt to weaken them will only lessen the positive impact which they have on the society.