Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion for Labor Unions

How much diversity is enough? Ways to measure diversity in union leadership

The labor movement has a saying: The leadership should look like the membership. Having a diverse leadership ensures that the full range of member’s issues and perspective are represented in leadership. That helps the union make better decisions overall.

But how can we tell if our leadership is diverse enough? There is one way to measure it. You can do this for any diversity criteria – race, ethnicity, gender, age, LGBTQ+ status, religion – as long as you have the information about it.

To create this measure, we look at one group at a time. We’ll call this the target demographic.

To start, you need to know the diversity of the membership the leaders serve. Let’s take a local union as an example, and let’s look at diversity in gender.

  1. How many top leadership positions do you have? Let's say it's 4: President, Vice-President, Recording Secretary, and Treasurer. Enter 4 in Box #1.
  2. Enter the number of top leaders who are women. Let's say it's 2. Enter 2 in Box #2.
  3. Enter the number of members in the local. Enter 500 in Box #3.
  4. Enter the number of members who are women. Enter 375 in Box #4
  5. Click on "Calculate DEI Index" to see your score.
DEI Calculator

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What does this result mean?

If the target demographic is proportionately represented in leadership, the score will be close to 100. Numbers substantially below 100 mean that the target demographic is underrepresented. Numbers substantially above 100 mean the target demographic is overrepresented.