Statistics Canada figures indicate the so-called 'union advantage' of P.E.I. union members. (Canadian Labour Congress)

The Canadian Labour Congress gathered Thursday on P.E.I. to talk about what it's calling the 'union advantage.'

The organization presened findings based on Statistics Canada numbers that show unionized workers on the Island make on average $9 more an hour than non-unionized workers.

On P.E.I., there are more than 20,000 unionized members.

Many work with the federal and provincial governments, or large corporations such as Cavendish Farms.

This translates to almost $7 million more in wages a week for the one-third of Island workers who belong to a union.

P.E.I.'s union wage differential ends up being quite a bit more than the national average, which is $5 an hour over non-unionized workers.

"There is a significant gap between the wages of unionized workers and unorganized workers on Prince Edward Island, actually one of the largest gaps in the country," said Tony Tracy of the Canadian Labour Congress.

Labour leaders were citing new statistics Thursday to show off the advantage of being unionized.

They say in addition to the higher wages, unionized workers often have benefits and better job security.

Labour leaders also say the reality is that many of those unionzed jobs are in government.

"If you remove public sector jobs from P.E.I., the reality is, there wouldn't be much of an economy left because the spinoffs of those jobs are so tremendous," Tracy said.

Craig Walsh of United Food and Commercial Workers Canada, says with large private employers, it's important for workers to be organized.

"To be fair, and to have any chance of representation at the table against these large employers, you've got to be able to bring something to the table that's equal to them," Walsh said.

The labour leaders say unions, through higher wages, provide a boost to the Island economy to the tune of an additional $6.68 million a week.