Download the report: “The Union Advantage During the Construction Labor Shortage”

In 2021, over 40 percent of construction firms reported that they turned down work due to labor shortage issues. A new report from the Illinois Economic Policy Institute could be a useful sales and recruiting tool for signatory contractors. The report, titled “The Union Advantage During the Construction Labor Shortage,” found that nonunion construction firms are significantly more likely to experience a project delay due to a workforce shortage. Per the report:

“Research shows that, because they invest in job quality and apprenticeship programs, union contractors are better able to attract, develop and retain skilled workers.”

Some takeaways from the report of note to signatory contractors include:

  • Union contractors are 21% less likely to experience project delays due to worker shortages.
  • Union contractors are 14% less likely to experience difficulty filling craft worker positions, and non-union contractors were having difficulty filling those positions before the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • On average, Union worksites have 34% fewer health and safety violations and fewer on-the-job fatalities when compared to their non-union peers.
  • On average, union construction workers earn 46% higher incomes, are 6% less likely to live in poverty, 34% more likely to have private health insurance coverage and are 6% less likely to rely on Medicaid.
  • On average, union households earn between 10% and 20% more than nonunion households – an income premium that has been consistent since the 1930s.

Click here to download the full 18-page report!