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Union membership up 50,000 in Illinois last year

Friday, Jan 24, 2014

* According to a newly released Bureau of Labor Statistics table, union membership rose by 50,000 people in Illinois between 2012 and 2013. During 2012, union membership stood at 801,000. By 2013 it was 851,000.

As a percentage of total employed, union membership grew from 14.6 percent in 2012 to 15.8 percent in 2013.

By comparison, Indiana’s 2013 union membership percentage was 9.3, Michigan’s was 16.3, Ohio’s was 12.6 and Wisconsin’s was 12.3.

* From a BLS press release

In 2013, the union membership rate–the percent of wage and salary workers who were members of unions–was 11.3 percent, the same as in 2012, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The number of wage and salary workers belonging to unions, at 14.5 million, was little different from 2012. 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. […]

In 2013, 7.2 million employees in the public sector belonged to a union, compared with 7.3 million workers in the private sector. The union membership rate for public-sector workers (35.3 percent) was substantially higher than the rate for private-sector workers (6.7 percent). Within the public sector, the union membership rate was highest for local government (40.8 percent), which includes employees in heavily unionized occupations, such as teachers, police officers, and firefighters. In the private sector, industries with high unionization rates included utilities (25.6 percent), transportation and warehousing (19.6 percent), telecommunications (14.4 percent), and construction (14.1 percent). Low unionization rates occurred in agriculture and related industries (1.0 percent), finance (1.0 percent), and in food services and drinking places (1.3 percent). (See table 3.)

Among occupational groups, the highest unionization rates in 2013 were in education, training, and library occupations and protective service occupations (35.3 percent each). Farming, fishing, and forestry occupations (2.1 percent) and sales and related occupations (2.9 percent) had the lowest unionization rates. […]

Among major race and ethnicity groups, black workers had a higher union membership rate in 2013 (13.6 percent) than workers who were white (11.0 percent), Asian (9.4 percent), or Hispanic (9.4 percent).

By age, the union membership rate was highest among workers ages 45 to 64–14.0 percent for those ages 45 to 54 and 14.3 percent for those ages 55 to 64. […]

In 2013, among full-time wage and salary workers, union members had median usual weekly earnings of $950, while those who were not union members had median weekly earnings of $750. […]

Over half of the 14.5 million union members in the U.S. lived in just seven states (California, 2.4 million; New York, 2.0 million; Illinois, 0.9 million; Pennsylvania, 0.7 million; and Michigan, New Jersey, and Ohio, 0.6 million each), though these states accounted for only about one-third of wage and salary employment nationally. [Emphasis added.]

Hat tip: Comptroller Topinka.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


26 Comments
  1. - PublicServant - Friday, Jan 24, 14 @ 11:05 am:

    Well with Plutocrats like R Eden, Brucey Carhartt, the Civics, IPI, Reboot etc, workers are looking for some level playing ground. Not surprised about the increased union membership.


  2. - Joe M - Friday, Jan 24, 14 @ 11:05 am:

    ==In 2013, among full-time wage and salary workers, union members had median usual weekly earnings of $950, while those who were not union members had median weekly earnings of $750==
    -from the BLS press release.

    That statistic is a pretty good endorsement for why one should belong to a union. There are many other reasons though too. Unions promote safer working conditions and a level playing field with fair workplace rules, to name a couple.


  3. - rauner's inner monologue - Friday, Jan 24, 14 @ 11:06 am:

    “And that, my friends, is why Illinois is lagging behind Indiana, Wisconsin and Ohio in terms of job growth. If we could only get rid of the unions, employment would boom. We are doing it for their own good. And if we were a right to work state, then I could support raising the minimum wage”
    B. R.


  4. - Almost the Weekend - Friday, Jan 24, 14 @ 11:10 am:

    Rich in regards towards Illinois union membership. Out of the 50,000 how many were in the private sector compared to the public sector?


  5. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jan 24, 14 @ 11:11 am:

    ===how many were in the private sector compared to the public sector?===

    No breakdown by BLS as far as I could find.


  6. - Almost the Weekend - Friday, Jan 24, 14 @ 11:13 am:

    Thanks for the quick feedback.


  7. - Norseman - Friday, Jan 24, 14 @ 11:16 am:

    Doubtful that a lot came from the public sector. Anyone hear about state or local govt engaging in a hiring frenzy.


  8. - Casual Observer - Friday, Jan 24, 14 @ 11:23 am:

    AFSCME and IFT were able to unionize quite a few PSRs and senior management positions in state government in 2012-2013. I’m not sure of the numbers but was in the thousands.


  9. - Chi - Friday, Jan 24, 14 @ 11:27 am:

    ==In 2013, among full-time wage and salary workers, union members had median usual weekly earnings of $950, while those who were not union members had median weekly earnings of $750==

    And assumedly, the “not union” members includes business owners, executives, and plutocrats, which drives up the median non-union wage. In other words, an apples to apples comparison of jobs would show an even greater benefit to unionization.


  10. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jan 24, 14 @ 11:27 am:

    ===quite a few PSRs and senior management positions in state government in 2012-2013===

    Drop in the bucket.


  11. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Jan 24, 14 @ 11:28 am:

    Thanks Rich and Comptroller Topinka for posting this info.

    I’m glad to see we gained union members. The rate of unionization is still historically low, for the entire country, but I’ll take the good news.

    Not only do union members earn more than their non union counterparts, they do so in the vast majority of occupations:

    http://www.bls.gov/news.release/union2.t04.htm

    This apparently makes the IPI and other like people furious, since why else would they devote so much time and resources to fight unions? They want to reduce labor costs as much as possible.

    “state or local govt engaging in a hiring frenzy”

    State workers were recently hired to process ACA Medicaid expansion cases, but I’m not sure of the numbers.


  12. - Arizona Bob - Friday, Jan 24, 14 @ 11:34 am:

    I would expect that the most of the 50,000 increase in union membership is in the public sector. It seems union manufacturing jobs are really leaving the state and I’m not aware of any big union manufacturing companies expanding or locating here. I’m also not aware of any service industries unionizing. It would be interesting to see which unions experienced the growth.


  13. - walker - Friday, Jan 24, 14 @ 11:42 am:

    Actually manufacturing has had a bit of a rebound in Illinois in the two years, and has been starting to hire more full-timers.


  14. - Chi - Friday, Jan 24, 14 @ 11:45 am:

    A portion of the increase is porbably due to the economy picking up steam. As construction projects start up, for instance, more construction workers are required. And those that fell behind on their dues while unemployed join up again when work picks up and they can afford it.


  15. - Joe M - Friday, Jan 24, 14 @ 11:46 am:

    I’m only guessing, but perhaps the United Food and Commercial Workers and SEIU have played key roles in attracting fast food and discount store employees. There has been a lot in the news nationwide about that union movement


  16. - Joe M - Friday, Jan 24, 14 @ 11:52 am:

    http://www.bls.gov/eag/eag.il.htm shows in which sectors the number of employees in Illinois increased recently, and which sectors they decreased. There were some sectors where the number of employees did actually increase.


  17. - Marie - Friday, Jan 24, 14 @ 12:34 pm:

    Anyone working for Illinois government would want to be in the union (unless political) - if you are not political or in the union you will not get a raise since Blago got elected


  18. - Anon - Friday, Jan 24, 14 @ 12:42 pm:

    I wonder how many of those union members will take a GOP ballot in March to vote against BR?


  19. - Norseman - Friday, Jan 24, 14 @ 12:51 pm:

    *** ===quite a few PSRs and senior management positions in state government in 2012-2013===

    Drop in the bucket. ***

    If that. One of the Quinn initiatives that passed was legislation to throw management and others OUT of the union.


  20. - Marie - Friday, Jan 24, 14 @ 1:33 pm:

    The change in membership was sponsored by Cullerton - I wish we did not have to fight so hard to get a union position to get a raise - the real issue is the way things are handled. Merit pay when raises were allowed back in 2003 - can be unfair - we all know that. I come from a republican union organizing family - right to earn a profit - but a right to be treated fairly and compensated that way - Quin and some others could and should do something about that


  21. - Jaded - Friday, Jan 24, 14 @ 1:42 pm:

    851,000 union members in Illinois and Bruce Rauner and the brain trust he employs actually believe they can win a general election for Governor by, not just attacking unions, but making them the focal point of your attacks?

    Sorry, but I am not sure I get it.

    Maybe one of his supporters who monitor this blog 24/7 can give me the name of the last Illinois Republican Governor (or any Illinois Governor for that matter) who won without at least some union support.


  22. - BMAN - Friday, Jan 24, 14 @ 2:00 pm:

    America was built on the backs of labor; whether public or private, unions are responsible for the standard of living enjoyed today! While those that hold the purse strings (like Rauner)may sweat on the golf course, labor sweat on the job.


  23. - DuPage - Friday, Jan 24, 14 @ 2:54 pm:

    @11:46AM, UFCW took quite a hit when Dominick’s closed, several thousand at least. Maybe the numbers were counted before that.


  24. - Dirty Red - Friday, Jan 24, 14 @ 2:58 pm:

    = Maybe the numbers were counted before that. =

    Or the union still considers them members?


  25. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Jan 24, 14 @ 3:16 pm:

    “union membership rose by 50,000 people”

    Not the best news for candidates who are attacking unions.


  26. - Bemused - Friday, Jan 24, 14 @ 4:41 pm:

    I always love it when I hear about the high cost of Union Dues. Seems the numbers above show how much the Non-Union Dues are. Talk about grow the economy, put 200.00 per week in all those non-union workers pay checks and see how hot the economy gets. Middle class can not spend what it don’t got.


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