“Pro-union policy can make a real difference to middle-class households by raising their incomes, improving their work environments, and boosting their job satisfaction. In doing so, unions can help to make the economy more equitable and robust,” Treasury Department Deputy Assistant Secretary for Microeconomics Laura Feiveson said in a first-of-its kind report on the effects of labor unions on the US economy. 

Wages for union members are approximately 20% higher than nonunion workers, according to the report, which also credits unions with providing improved health and safety standards, as well as benefits related to retirement, healthcare, child care, life insurance and sick leave.

In long-term care, new research shows that nursing homes with a unionized workforce have higher compliance rates with safety standards. Unionized facilities were 31.1 percentage points more likely than nonunion buildings to report workplace injury data to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, the study found.

The effects of labor unions spread beyond the doors of unionized firms and their workers, however, according to the Treasury Department.

“Nonunionized firms in competition with unionized workplaces may choose to raise wages, change hiring practices, or improve their workplace environment to attract workers,” Feiveson wrote.

On a joint press call last week, Vice President Kamala Harris and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen re-affirmed the Biden administration’s pro-union stance.

“This report is the administration’s latest action to strengthen the important role of labor unions in our economy, and it’s the Treasury Department’s first major effort to lay out the rationale for why we think this is so important,” Yellen said.

The vice president added: “Unions are also some of America’s best in terms of workforce training programs. Union apprenticeships provide so many workers with a pathway toward the middle class.”

A recent Gallup poll showed that 67% of Americans approve of labor unions, and one-third of Americans expect that unions will grow stronger in the future, as McKnight’s Senior Living previously reported.