Security when it matters: Pay raises for unionized workers reached multi-decade high in 2023

The last few years have seen a rise in worker momentum, with unionized workers raising their voices to demand higher pay, safer working conditions and more.

It may come as little surprise, then, that wages have grown dramatically. According to Bloomberg Law, union contracts in 2023 included the highest average pay raise of any year since at least 1988, a pay hike of 6.6% from the previous year. Including signing bonuses and “other lump-sum payments,” that average figure is 7.3%, also a record high.

According to Bloomberg, “The main drivers of the 2022-to-2023 wage boost were unions in state and local government workplaces — many of whom represent front-line workers who had to remain on the job and at risk during the pandemic.”

Last year’s wage increases for unionized workers came on top of big gains in 2022, when the average raise in union-negotiated contracts was 5.7%.

Negotiating contracts with strong wages is core to our mission, but it’s far from the only way a union contract can provide security when it matters most.

From agreements with greater protections for employees who get sick with covid to negotiating paid family leave for the first time or ensuring fair and transparent grievance procedures, the security built into a contract truly is the union difference.