Unionized Employees Becoming Tiny Minority

New study shows that unionized workers make up less than 10 percent of the private sector labor force.
January 24, 2013 According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012 was yet another year that saw a reduction in the number of unionized workers. Approximately 15.9 million workers were covered by a union contract; 90 percent were members of a union with the balance comprised of workers who are not union members but whose jobs are covered by union contracts. Only 11.3 percent of workers are unionized, compared to 20 percent in 1983.

The majority of unionized workers don’t work for small businesses or any businesses for that matter; they work for local, state and federal government agencies. While one in three public sector workers are unionized, less than 7 percent of private sector workers form part of a union.

Being a union member, despite the dues and other expenses, does provide for higher wages. During 2012, the median weekly earnings for a union member was $943, compared to 742 for non-union members. These higher wages aren’t necessarily due to just being a union member but also reflect prevailing wages in jobs that tend to be unionized.

New York, Alaska and Hawaii have the highest percentage of unionized labor, exceeding 20 percent with half of all unionized workers living in just seven states: California, New York, Illinois, Pennslyvania, Michigan, New Jersey and Ohio.    

Read the full article at the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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