Union Membership Continues To Decline, Down To 11% Of Total Workforce

| by Edward Arnold
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Union membership among American workers dropped to a new low of 11.1 percent in 2014.

New data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that while the number of union members actually increased  adding 49,00 new members in the public and private sectors  the overall percentage dropped 0.02 percentage points from 2013.

In 1983, union membership was at 20.1 percent.

Union membership has steadily decreased since then, showing a decades-long trend of decline.

Membership by race shows that African-American workers have the most membership at 13.2 percent, followed by whites and Hispanics. However, Hispanics benefit the most from union membership, showing a 41 percent increase in wages compared to about 25 percent for everyone else.

Government employees have the highest rate of union membership at nearly 36 percent. Less than 7 percent of private-sector workers are members of a union. Overall, 7.2 million public-sector workers and 7.6 million private-sector workers are union members.

"When unions are strong, working families thrive, with wages and productivity rising in tandem," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. "But when the percentage of people represented by unions is low, there is downward pressure on wages and the middle class takes it on the chin."

New York continues to have the highest membership rate at 24.6 percent, while North Carolina still has the lowest rate of 1.9 percent.

Men had a slightly higher membership rate (11.7 percent) than women (10.5 percent).

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Washington Post, Atlantic / Photo Credit: www.labordish.com