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DATA: What effect do unions have on wages and businesses?

On Monday, Gov. Bruce Rauner officially launched his war against government unions with an executive order to block “fair share” union fees and also is pursuing legal action to prevent public-sector unions from tapping those fees.

Rauner, a Republican, said state employees who choose not to participate in unions still must pay fees through the “fair share” provision.

Illinois labor has blasted Rauner for the move, calling it a “blatantly illegal use of power.”

Organized labor continues to lose ground, with membership falling to its lowest point since the Labor Department started tracking it in 1983.

With this pending union fight in Illinois, now is as good a time as any to look at the impact of unions on both businesses and the workers those union shops employ.

SEIU President Tom Balanoff told the Sun-Times Rauner’s actions were a smokescreen to drive down working wages in Illinois. It’s anything but a cut and dry issue, but numerous studies support Balanoff’s statement.

Basically, if you’re not in a union, you probably should want to be in one.

For example:

  • A teachers union study published in the Economics of Education Review found that starting salaries were increased by 3.9 percent through collective bargaining. Over the first five years, those teachers earned an average of 5.4 percent more than non-unionized teachers.
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that in 2014, the median weekly earnings of union workers was 27 percent higher than that of non-union workers:

h/t: The Washington Post