Labor unions have experienced dismal membership numbers in recent years and aren’t even doing well in those industries with the highest rates of unionized workers, according to a Monday report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Government, utilities, transportation and warehousing had the highest percentage of union members in 2015. Union membership overall has stalled at just 11.1 percent in the past few years with the majority of workers in all industry choosing not to be in a union. Unionized public-sector workers is substantially higher at 35.2 percent compared to the 6.7 percent of private-sector workers.
“Within the public sector, the union membership rate was highest for local government,” the report detailed. “Which includes employees in heavily unionized occupations, such as teachers, police officers, and firefighters.”
Unionized utilities workers only made up 21.4 percent of the industry despite it having the highest rate in the private-sector. Transportation and warehousing had a 18.9 percent unionization rate while educational services 13.7 percent rate. Agriculture, hunting, financial activities and business services were among those industries with the lowest rates of union members.
Despite struggling with membership rates, the unions did receive some good news in the past year. Gallup found in a poll from August that union approval jumped to 58 percent. Unions touted the findings as yet another reason they are still relevant. The poll, however, only looked at approval and not the rate in which people actually wanted to be unionized.
Government unions could take a huge hit depending on the results of an open U.S. Supreme Court case. Rebecca Friedrichs and a handful of other California teachers argued before the court Jan. 11 that mandatory union payments violate their right to free-speech. If the teachers win it could outlaw mandatory union membership for all government workers.
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