January 22, 2010
DOL: Union Density Rate Essentially Unchanged in 2009
DOL Secretary Hilda Solis had the following statement today on the Bureau of Labor Statistics report on Union Members in 2009:
Today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that, in 2009, the unionization rate of employed wage and salary workers was 12.3 percent, in essence unchanged from the 12.4 percent rate in 2008. Among private sector employees, the rate dropped to 7.2 percent from 7.6 percent in 2008.
The data also show the median usual weekly earnings of full-time wage and salary union members were $908 per week, compared to $710 for workers not represented by unions. Union members earn 28 percent more than their non-union counterparts.
When coupled with data showing that union members have access to better health care, retirement and leave benefits, these numbers make it clear that union jobs are good jobs.
As workers across the country have seen their real and nominal wages decline as a result of the recession, these numbers show a need for Congress to pass legislation to level the playing field to enable more American workers to access the benefits of union membership. This report makes clear why the administration supports the Employee Free Choice Act.
Just laughing to myself and thinking how former Bush Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao would have heralded these figures. Certainly, EFCA would not have been mentioned.
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Two more interesting facts from that BLS report:
(1) A majority of union members now work in the public sector (the first time that's been the case, I think).
(2) Private sector union membership dropped by 10% last year (the largest drop on record, I think). That's particularly important because the jobs created when the economy begins to grow are unlikely to be union jobs; that means the density rate is almost sure to drop significantly.
Posted by: Dennis Nolan | Jan 22, 2010 9:15:29 PM
Labor unions are a vestige of early 20th century America. They have long outlived their usefulness and become simply one more special interest group (albeit very small with inordinate resources) whose attitude is simply--"I want mine and screw everybody else."
Posted by: joe marino | Jan 25, 2010 6:12:16 AM