They found that union workers earn an average of $13 dollars more per hour than nonunion workers in the Bay State’s construction industry. When benefits are included, they average $28.35 more per hour than their nonunion counterparts.
Higher wages not only provide union members with a solid middle-class career opportunity, they generate countless benefits for the Massachusetts economy, resulting in more than $2 billion in additional income for building trades’ members, amounting to a total income gain of $1.74 billion for all Massachusetts families.
Anti-union groups, like Associated Builders and Contractors, routinely denounce union labor for its higher wages, but the study finds that nonunion labor isn’t necessarily cost-effective.
There are economic and social costs associated with the lower quality of the training provided to nonunion workers, and the consequent higher number of occupational injuries they endure … Labor cost savings, however, can translate into costs being shifted onto taxpayers and society as a whole, when employers fail to pay appropriate levels of payroll taxes and workers compensation premiums.
For example, the study finds that 88 percent of OSHA violations in the Massachusetts construction industry were committed by nonunion contractors.
Figueroa and Grabelsky also looked at the economic effects of union pension fund investment in Massachusetts. They found that more than $1 billion of union pension fund investments went into real estate and commercial development projects – investments which have boosted the state’s economy and helped create more good-paying construction jobs.
Said Electrical Workers (IBEW) International President Edwin D. Hill:
It isn’t just in Massachusetts, the study’s findings holds true everywhere: union construction means good jobs and good jobs mean a growing economy that benefits all working families.
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