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NC has lowest unionization rate in the country

It’s not all that surprising to find in a new report by the Center for Economic Policy Research that North Carolina is ranked pretty low in the nation for unionization rates. We are a Southern right-to-work state, afterall. But it’s still fairly remarkable that we were beat out by all of our Southern neighbors by sliding in at 50th in the nation, with 4.1% of North Carolina’s employees represented by a union. In Alabama, 10.9% of the total workforce is a member in a union. And of course, at the top end of the spectrum, over a quarter of the workforce is unionized in New York.

But perhaps more importantly, the report analyzes the union advantage—the difference in wages and benefits between non-union workers and those represented in unions.

The report confirms the obvious: that union workers consistently and substantially earn higher wages, are much more likely to have employer-provided health insurance, and to have an employer-sponsored retirement plan than non-union workers. Case in point that in North Carolina the average union worker earns more than $4 per hour than a non-union worker.

The union advantage for the Old North State ends up being:
• 14.8% advantage in wages
• 12.3% more likely to have employer-provided health insurance
• 10.7% more likely to have an employer-provided retirement plan.

A sure sign that policies that ease barriers to unionization in North Carolina and around the country are a critical strategy to growing good quality jobs.

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NC has lowest unionization rate in the country