The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its annual Union Membership report this week. It showed a continuation of the steep decline in union membership since 1983, the first year of the report. In 1983, there were 17.7 million unionized workers and the membership rate was 20.1% of the U.S. workforce. In 2019, there were 14.6 million and the membership rate was 10.3%, a reduction of almost half. Digging deeper, the BLS numbers reveal a stark contrast: unionization among public sector employees remains very high and stable at 33.6%, whereas unionization among private sector employees has plummeted to just a fifth of the public sector rate, at 6.2%. The public sector employees with the very highest rates of unionization are employees of local governments and districts: police, fire, and education. Lastly, more than half of all unionized workers in the U.S. are found in just 7 states: California, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio and Washington. Chart below from Marketwatch.com using BLS data.
Union Membership of Working U.S. Americans
| January 27, 2020