The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its annual report on union membership last week and the news was pretty grim. While the economy added almost 2.4 million jobs in 2012, union membership was down by almost 400,000.
Digging through the data led to several more interesting discoveries.
1) Since 2008, private sector unions have lost more than 1.2 million members – almost equivalent to losing the entire rank-and-file of the Teamsters.
2) All of the government jobs lost since 2008 were added in the three-year period 2005-2008.
3) Almost half of all union members work in just seven states – California, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Michigan, New Jersey and Ohio – though these states employ only about one-third of the U.S. workforce.
4) Union membership increased in 14 states and the District of Columbia. Of these, only five added more than 10,000 members (California, Georgia, Kentucky, Oklahoma and Texas).
5) Local government (teachers, police officers, firefighters, et al.) is by far the most unionized sector of the American workforce.
6) Members of the two national teachers’ unions, the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, comprise more than 25% of all union members in the United States, and just under half of all public sector union members.
7) About 42% of U.S. workers are 45 years of age or older. Almost 52% of union members are.
8) If unions were able to organize all the workers at Wal-Mart, by far America’s largest employer, it would only raise their share of the private sector workforce to 8.5% – less than the share they had in 2002.
9) If the trends recorded since 2000 continue, by 2051 there will be 8 million union members in the United States – 6.6% of the total workforce – and they will all work for the government.
10) Five million of them will be teachers.