By Sahid Fawaz

Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden all have something in common: the majority of workers there are in trade unions.

So, is life there better or worse over compared to the lives of workers in America, where less than 20% belong to a union?

Better. Much, much better. As you can see from the numbers below, the United States worker is worse off than citizens of every one of the more unionized countries in each category but one – and in that category, the US is the second worse off.

Here are a few highlights:

Guaranteed annual paid leave:

Denmark: 5 weeks

Finland: 6 weeks

Iceland: 6 weeks

Norway: 5 weeks

Sweden: 5 weeks

United States: 0 days


Guaranteed paid parental leave:

Denmark: 32 weeks

Finland: 26 weeks

Iceland: 52 weeks

Norway: 59 weeks

Sweden: 80 weeks

United States: 0 days


Income inequality (the ratio of the average income of the richest 10% to the poorest 10%):

Denmark: 8

Finland: 5.6

Iceland: NA

Norway: 6.1

Sweden: 6.2

United States: 16


Percentage of population without health insurance coverage:

Denmark: 0%

Finland: 0%

Iceland: 0%

Norway: 0%

Sweden: 0%

United States: 15%


Hours worked per year per worker:

Denmark: 1,438

Finland: 1,643

Iceland: 1,846

Norway: 1,408

Sweden: 1,607

United States: 1,788

Add comment
  • Guest - Dan Murphy

    In so many countries in Europe and elsewhere, taxes may be higher, but wages and benefits are WAY better, and the standard of living, on average, is superior to ours. We could learn a lot from other countries -- or we can continue to be told by the politicians in power that higher wages, better benefits and improved working conditions are just not possible -- which is wrong!!

Latest Comments

Want to get rid of self checkouts? Get rid of the minimum wage that leads to unproductivity of workers making corporations waste t...
Funny, the same people that bash unions will be the same to cry foul when an employer screws them...Unions are the ONLY protection...
Thanks for posting a very revealing and interesting article. Trump is a threat to all Americans but especially working class peopl...
Clearly, paying half of what was promised is shameful, but it would be helpful to know what the standard hourly wage for laborers ...
FOR THOSE OF YOU HERE POSTING ANTI UNION RHETORIC, the next time you get fired from a job JUST BECAUSE they can do it, you will WI...



union impact

buy the book
Hilton Glendale

Get the Labor 411 eNewsletter, FREE!

Click the button below to sign up for exclusive product guides, videos, special discounts and more!