In Minnesota, construction workers are productive, high-skilled, and well-paid. Over 30 percent of these workers are members of a union. To maintain and increase membership, trade unions in Minnesota must continually demonstrate how workers benefit from contributing dues.
An analysis by the Midwest Economic Policy Institute (MEPI), The Impact of Construction Dues in Minnesota: An Organizational and Individual-Level Analysis [PDF], finds that construction unions in Minnesota offer many positive benefits to members:
- Union membership increases the after-tax income of construction workers by $7,720 annually;
- Unions increase construction worker health insurance coverage by 13.1 percentage points;
- Minnesota’s construction unions spend 75.5 percent of dues and fees on bargaining and representation;
- Only 1.4 percent of all membership dues and fees collected by construction unions in Minnesota are spent on political activities and lobbying – or $17.47 annually per member; and
- For every $1 paid in dues and fees, an estimated $5.59 is returned to members in the construction industry in after-tax income.
Construction trade unions do not only support members, however. Construction unions also impact the broader Minnesota labor market. Results from an economic impact analysis show:
- Unionized construction workers independently create over 9,000 additional jobs that would not exist in Minnesota without unionization – including over 1,300 direct jobs in labor organizations and almost 8,000 other jobs from the higher earnings and consumer spending of union households.
- The net impacts of unionized construction workers are an $808.6 million increase in Minnesota’s economic output and $99.5 million more in state income tax revenue than there would be without unionization.
At an annual cost of $1,381, union dues and fees increase wages by $7,720 after taxes – a $5.59 personal benefit per dollar invested. Membership also increases the likelihood that a construction worker has health insurance coverage, reduces construction worker poverty, and provides workers with a voice at work. Finally, union dues stimulate the broader Minnesota economy.
Any attempt to weaken trade unions in Minnesota, if successful, would reduce these positive impacts that unionized construction workers have on the state.
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