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Labor Takes the High Road: How Unions Make Western New York More Prosperous and Equitable

Date: Mar 8, 2019
Author(s): Sam Magavern, Lou Jean Fleron
Topic(s): Economic Development: Organized Labor
Type: Report

The report explores how unions make a major impact on the region not just through collective bargaining, but also through community service and policy advocacy. Analyzing Census data, the authors find that union members in Western New York enjoy substantially higher wages, more full-time work, more health insurance coverage, and more pension benefits than non-members.

Union impacts radiate out far beyond their members. Research reveals that unions improve wages, job quality, health, and safety, for other workers as well. Unions support community efforts with volunteer hours and donations, and they play a critical role in workforce development and training. Finally, organized labor advocates for high road public policies regarding issues such as civil rights, public health, and responsible economic development.

The report was produced in collaboration with Cornell University ILR Buffalo Co-Lab, Western New York Area Labor Federation, AFL-CIO and affiliated unions, and Workforce Development Institute. The Partnership for the Public Good is a community-based think tank uniting over 280 organizations in Western New York.