High Earning Professionals, Professionals Earning Less Than $50k are Open to Union Representation

By DPE

Professionals earning more than $100,000 and professionals earning less than $50,000 are open to joining a union. The results of an October 2016 survey of non-union professionals reveal that 50 percent of high earners and 66 percent of lower earning professionals would support a proposal for a union at their current job.

The October 2016 survey was sponsored by the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE). The survey included 1,004 non-union professionals, 256 of which earned more than $100,000 per year and 236 of the respondents earned less than $50,000 per year. Most of the non-union professionals earning less than $50,000 per year were women — 70 percent — while only 37 percent of the non-union professionals earning over $100,000 per year were women. A majority of high earning professionals were over 45 years of age, while only 36 percent of professionals earning less than $50,000 were over 45.

While both a majority of high earning professionals and low earning professionals would support a proposal for a union at their current job, these groups prioritized different improvements that they wanted from union representation. The most convincing reason for professionals who earned less than $50,000 per year to have a union was for better salaries and raises. Professionals who earned over $100,000 per year were more interested in improving health and retirement benefits.

Lower earning professionals’ knowledge about unions was a lot more limited when compared to higher earning professionals. Just over a quarter of professionals earning less than $50,000 reported knowing a great deal or fair amount about unions. Among high earning professionals, 35 percent reported knowing a great deal or fair amount about unions.

Additionally, high earning professionals were very concerned that union representation would restrict rewards for individual achievement and protect poor performing workers. Union organizers should address this concern by highlighting union contracts that establish merit pay.

For professionals earning less than $50,000, merit pay was not really a concern. Instead, lower earning professionals felt undervalued by their employer and were looking to gain more respect.

Overall, union organizers should be aware of the differences between professionals at different income levels and highlight the union benefits that are important to the professionals they are organizing. Both groups of professionals had concerns about union myths and organizers should work to combat rumors about unions.

Those interested in learning more about union representation should visit our “Join A Union” webpage.

A preview of full analysis of professionals who earn less than $50,000 per year views toward unions can be viewed here. Complete analysis of high earning professionals’ attitudes toward unions will be available in the coming weeks.

DPE affiliates interested in full survey analysis should email jdorning@dpeaflcio.org.

Check out more DPE blogs on our website.

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