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With Inflation High, Union Wages Not Keeping Up

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For the past year, compensation for workers with non-union jobs is rising faster than those represented by a union. Wages for non-union workers rose 6%, compared to 3.4% for those in unions.  

One reason for the disparity is that unions negotiate long-term collective bargaining agreements, typically three years, locking in pay rates in spite of inflationary times.  An example of how non-union workers adapt more quickly is at Delta Airlines, where Delta started paying flight attendants for the time the passengers spend boarding, while the attendants at 17 other union-represented airlines do not.  A recent example at Starbucks shows that it granted pay increases to about 9,000 non-union stores while the 200 stores that have recently been unionized were excluded, due to the requirement to first negotiate with the union.

This article is part of our September 2022 Newsletter.

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