According to new data, unions are a ticket to the middle class, and more and more workers are organizing their way into one.

New data shows, once again, that union membership is a great bet for increasing household wealth — and more and more people are coming together to get that opportunity.

A Center for American Progress analysis found that union households possess 1.7 times the median wealth of nonunion households.

A union household has 1.7 times the median wealth of a nonunion household, according to 2022 figures from the Federal Reserve's Survey of Consumer Finances, analyzed by the Center for American Progress. The median for union households was $338,482, compared with just $199,948 for nonunion households.

That difference holds across demographic groups as well as education levels. In fact, union membership narrows the racial wealth gap. Membership in a union was found to increase median wealth between 167% and 228% for households of color, compared with a 37% increase for white households.

"Unions are a proven ticket to the middle class," International President Kenneth W. Cooper said. "With so many Americans struggling to make ends meet and realizing what unions can do for them, the IBEW needs to seize the opportunity and organize like never before."

Union households have more wealth than their nonunion counterparts at every education level measured, including for those without a high school degree. Union members are also more likely to own a home and have a retirement plan than nonunion Americans.

These findings match earlier analyses by CAP that concluded that union membership is associated with higher levels of wealth across all households. CAP's previous surveys also complement findings from the Economic Policy Institute on how unions decrease worker inequality — for both union and nonunion members. When union density is high, it raises the wage standard for entire industries, which forces nonunion employers to compete with union shops.

The EPI also found that unions reduce racial and gender wage disparities and push for progressive policies that benefit all working people. The EPI stated in its report, "A strong labor movement protects workers, reduces disparities and strengthens our democracy."

A 2023 Treasury Department report also found that unions contribute to a strong middle class by raising wages and improving benefits, which in turn sets higher labor market standards that tend to increase the wages and benefits of nonunion workers as well, all of which creates more financial stability in a community.

As income inequality continues to rise and more people experience decreased purchasing power, all the while witnessing high-profile bargaining wins from unions including the UAW, the Teamsters, and the writers and actors guilds, an increasing number of people are organizing their workplaces. According to the National Labor Relations Board, union election petitions filed in the first six months of fiscal year 2024 (Oct. 1 - March 31) rose 35% over the same period in the year prior.

What's more, thanks to new worker-friendly rules, union elections are being held more quickly, with the period between filing a petition with the NLRB and balloting in contested elections shrinking from 105 days in fiscal year 2023 to less than 59 days since late December, when a new election rule became enforceable. That rule rolled back Trump-era changes that made the election process slower and more cumbersome, a formula that often favors employers at the expense of employees.

Nothing exemplifies the new era in labor law better than the 2023 NLRB decision in the Cemex case. After Cemex, once a majority of workers sign cards seeking a union, employers have only 14 days to call an election or start bargaining, and if they commit a single unfair labor practice during an election campaign, the board can order the employer to recognize and bargain with the union.

"At every turn, the Biden administration's NLRB has sided with working people and their right to join a union," Cooper said. "It's like night and day compared to the previous administration, and workers everywhere are better off for it."