According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), workers in non-union jobs saw increased wages compared to their unionized counterparts. 

The BLS’s June 2022 Employment Cost Index revealed total wage and benefits costs for private sector jobs rose 5.5% from June 2021 to June 2022. Non-unionized workers saw their wages and salaries increase 6%, compared to a 3.4% wage increase for unionized workers. So much for the argument that union workers are better paid. 

This news comes despite the Biden’s administration unilateral boosting of union jobs. 

Meanwhile, the gig economy grew about 30% since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic as more workers traded traditional jobs for flexible arrangements.

According to Mercer’s 2022 Global Talent Trends report, more corporate executives have warmed up to this model: 

“Gig working remains a favored strategy for the C-suite, with six in ten executives expecting that gig workers will substantially replace full‑time employees at their company in the next three years,” the report said

As more workers choose part-time or full-time gig (freelance) options, the industry’s projected gross volume is expected to reach $455 billion by 2023.

Unions view the proliferation of independent contractors as a threat because they cannot be unionized. Legislative and regulatory efforts such as California’s AB5 law that reclassify workers as employees make it easier for those employees to be targeted by organized unions and become dues-paying union members. 

With inflation now sitting at 9.1%, American workers are seeking out freelance work to stay afloat and become more fulfilled. 

The second annual Branch x Marqeta Gig Payments Report surveyed 1,000 workers who traded the W-2 lifestyle for freelance options. Their findings revealed that 85% of respondents “increased or planned to increase” their freelance workload. Moreover, 58% of respondents cited inflation as the primary driver to transition to this work model.

As I previously noted at IWF, the freelance workforce is expected to grow to 91 million workers by 2028:

With the Great Resignation and Great Reshuffle taking hold of the economy, ​​full-time workers are voluntarily trading their 9-to-5 jobs for contract work that is more flexible and fulfilling–and, in many cases, higher paying. 

In fact, economic forecasters predict the freelance workforce may exceed 91 million members by 2028.

As non-unionized wages—especially in the gig economy—continue to increase, the Biden administration’s policy making should reflect economic trends by not disfavoring flexible work arrangements.