According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2014, the union membership rate (the percent of wage and salary workers who were members of unions) was 11.1 percent, down 0.2 percentage point from 2013. The number of people belonging to unions, at 14.6 million, was virtually unchanged from 2013. In 1983, the first year for which comparable union data are available, the union membership rate was 20.1 percent, and there were 17.7 million union workers. Since 2004, the number of people in the labor force has grown by 6.4% whereas the number of people belonging to unions has decreased 5.8%.
Highlights from the 2014 BLS data include:
- Public-sector workers had a union membership rate (35.7 percent), more than five times higher than that of private-sector workers (6.6 percent).
- Workers in education, training, library occupations and in protective service occupations had the highest unionization rate, at 35.3 percent for each occupation group.
- Men had a higher union membership rate (11.7 percent) than women (10.5 percent).
- Black workers were more likely to be union members than were white, Asian, or Hispanic workers.
- Median weekly earnings of nonunion workers ($763) were 79 percent of the earnings for workers who were union members ($970).
- Among states, New York continued to have the highest union membership rate (24.6 percent), and North Carolina again had the lowest rate (1.9 percent).
For more detailed information on this issue from the BLS, go to http://www.bls.gov/news.release/union2.nr0.htm.