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Federal Employee Union Membership Jumped in 2015

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Federal civil service unions increased membership in 2015 by the biggest margin in eight years, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data.

Membership jumped by about 40,000 last year. Due to the growth of the government’s workforce, however, the percentage of unionized federal employees dropped from 27.5 percent in 2014 to 27.3 percent in 2015. The federal government employed 3.59 million people in 2015, up from 3.41 million people in 2014. FedSmith.com first reported the union membership increase.

Federal employees are four times more likely to be unionized than private sector workers. Only 6.7 percent of all private sector employees were unionized in 2015, up slightly from 6.6 percent in 2014, according to BLS data.

Some federal employees who aren’t union members are still represented by unions. Nearly one in three federal employees — 32.3 percent in 2015 — are either union members or have jobs covered by an employee association contract. That number is up slightly from 2014, when 31.6 percent of federal employees were represented by unions.

Federal, state and local government workers make up nearly half of all unionized workers in America, or 48.9 percent.

State and local government workers are also much more likely to be unionized than their federal counterparts, according to BLS. More than 41 percent of local government employees are unionized, along with more than 30 percent of state government employees, as of 2015.

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