Union membership information
The union membership and career information you are about to read is important whether you are already in the work force or preparing to enter it … and whether or not you are a union member today. Visit the AFL-CIO website for more information.
Did you know?
In 2010 the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found union membership rate was 11.9%. This percentage of wage and salary workers who were union members in 2010 was down from 12.3% in 2009. At the same time, union membership was steadily growing in occupations that also show the most opportunity for growth through 2018.
Union membership information
- Union membership for public sector workers (36.2 %) was more than five times that of private sector workers (6.9%).
- Workers in education, training, and library occupations had the highest unionization rate at 37.1%.
- Black workers were more likely to be union members than white, Asian, or Hispanic workers.
- New York had the highest union membership rate (24.2%) of all 50 states and North Carolina had the lowest rate (3.2%).
How do workplace trends and union membership affect you?
Are you currently employed but thinking of making a career change? Are you out of job and considering re-training? Is someone in your family in or about to enter college? What you’re about to read is important for ALL workers and their future job opportunities. Please keep reading.
Straight Talk from a Fellow Worker ...
Being a union member offers me a lot, including access to additional professional training and meetings. I’m glad that I am a part of the union and I am thankful for representation and the unique benefits that I am entitled to.
— Lisa Johnson AFGE Local 709
Professional job growth and the future of organized labor
According to analysis of January 2011 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics figures by the AFL-CIO Department for Professional Employees:
- The union movement is now 54.3% professional and technical.
- 20% of workers are union members in professional and related occupations, a higher proportion than the workforce in general.
- Employment in professional and related occupations accounts for 61% of 2010 employment. These occupations are growing faster and adding more workers than any other major occupational category.
- While total employment is projected to grow 10.1% between 2008 and 2018, the growth for professional and technical workers is projected to be nearly 17%, or 5 million jobs.
- Between 2008 and 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects about 4 million new professional and related jobs in the healthcare and social assistance sector; 805,000 in educational services, and another 4.2 million in professional and business services.
- 21% of all jobs in 2008 required a bachelor’s degree or higher. Fourteen of the 30 occupations expected to grow most rapidly between 2008 and 2018 generally require a bachelor’s degree or higher. Most of the 30 fastest occupations are professional and related. Unions and Union Plus actively support workers getting their degrees.
Why you need a union
Union members earn more money, have better benefits, and help employers create a more stable, productive workforce in which workers have a say in improving their jobs. Learn more about the union difference on the AFL-CIO site, plus see who belongs to unions.
Why your union membership is valuable:
Fact 1: Union workers’ wages are 30% higher on average than their nonunion counterparts.
Fact 2: 68% of union workers have guaranteed pensions, but only 14% of nonunion workers do.
Fact 3: More than 97% of union workers have jobs that provide health insurance benefits, but only 85% of nonunion workers do.
The increasing rate of union membership among professional workers reflects the increase in career challenges they face resulting from rapidly changing technology, a turbulent world economy, and new work methods. Like other workers in the past, professionals are now forming unions to enhance professional autonomy and become more involved in making decisions that affect their careers, as well as for greater professional and personal security. As you plan your future, consider where your best career opportunities are and how union membership can help.
- Visit the Bureau of Labor Statistic and get their 2011 union membership report.
- Get career planning ideas by looking at trends in employment and occupations for 2008-2018.
- Learn more about how union membership helps highly skilled professional and technical workers.
- AFL-CIO site