Gender, Race/Ethnicity, and Unionization in Direct Care Occupations

Janette Dill, Jill B Tanem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives. The goal of this study was to measure unionization in the direct care workforce and the relationship between unionization and earnings, looking closely at differences across race/ethnicity and gender. Methods. Using data from the Current Population Survey from 2010 to 2020, we first used logit analyses to predict the probability of unionization among direct care workers across race/ethnicity and gender. We then measured the relationship between unionization and weekly earnings. Results. We found that male (12%) and Black (14%) direct care workers were most likely to be unionized, followed by Hispanic and other direct care workers of color. Unionized direct care workers earn wages that are about 7.8% higher than nonunionized workers, but unionized workers of color earn lower rewards for unionization compared with White direct care workers. Conclusions. Unions are a mechanism for improving job quality in direct care work, and protecting workers' rights to unionize and participate in collective bargaining equitably may be a way to stabilize and grow the direct care workforce.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1676-1684
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2022

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