The following analysis was completed by DPE based on an October 2016 attitudinal survey of 1,004 professional and technical employees. Here, the responses of 256 professionals earning more than $100,000 per year are separately analyzed and, in part, compared to professionals in three other earnings categories: less than $50,000; $50,000 to $75,000; and $75,000 to $100,000.
Among the 256 respondents earning more than $100,000: 37% were women; 69% were employed in the private, for-profit sector; 14% were employed in the public sector; 55% were aged 45 and over; 38% were employed architecture, engineering, business, finance, computer, and mathematical occupations; 76% were White; 3% were Black or African American; and 51% were Republicans.
First, the demographics of survey respondents who earned over $100,000 included groups of professionals that we know hold greater anti-union sentiments and are thus harder to persuade. Nearly two-thirds were male, 40 percent were older than 50, and nearly three-quarters were White. A slim majority also identified as Republicans and 50 percent identified as conservative. Thus, the demographic and political make-up of the respondents may have been more of a factor in determining union support than the level of income.
Second, high earners already enjoyed a level of financial security that appeared to make annual salaries and raises a less compelling issue for workplace change. High earners may be in a better position to negotiate for higher pay. However, they have far less bargaining power when it comes to health and retirement benefits. When asked what would convince them to have a union in their workplace, high earners were the only group that said better benefits was a more compelling reason than better salaries and raises.
Third, high earners were more concerned that having a union would constrain their ability to advance to a higher position and be rewarded for individual achievement. High earners were more likely to be concerned that having a union would mean poor performers would be protected. For high earners, protection of poor performers could mean that the workplace would not function as well and it could directly or indirectly harm the performance of high performers. The concern that individual achievement could not be rewarded was also a big concern.
Additional data and analysis is available for DPE affiliated unions and their staff.
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