Survey Reveals Union Membership Nationwide Increase in 2015

WASHINGTON — Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) survey reported Union membership rose by 219,000 nationwide in 2015 compared to 2014. Unions had 14.795 million members last year and that their share of the U.S. workforce stayed unchanged at 11.1 percent.


The survey revealed unionists still concentrate in the Northeast, the Great Lakes and the Pacific Coast, and are fewest in the anti-union South. The most union-heavy states are New York and Hawaii. Also, female union workers are close to pay equality with union men.


Membership increases occurred even as unions battle right wing politicians and their business backers over the right to organize, union dues and other issues.


Public workers are still five times more likely to be unionized (35.2 percent) than private-sector workers (6.7 percent), with teachers and public safety workers leading the way.


Unionists widened their salary edge over their union colleagues: The median weekly wage for unionists was $204 higher than for non-union workers.


The median weekly wage for union women was $928, up $24 in a year. It was 92.2 percent of the union men’s median ($1,017, up $2). The median weekly wage for non-union women last year was $697, up $10. It was 80.2 percent of the men’s median ($869, up $29).


Washington, D.C. and 24 states saw increases in union density last year, while 23 states saw declines. The other three states had no change.


The biggest membership jumps were in Florida (+91,000), New York and North Carolina (+47,000).


Unionists concentrated in California (2,486 million, up 14,000), New York (2.038 million, up 58,000), Illinois (847,000, up 16,000), Pennsylvania (747,000, up 44,000), Ohio (606,000, down 9,000), Michigan (621,000, up 36,000) and New Jersey (596,000, down 39,000). Those seven states alone accounted for approximately half of all union members. In each of them, at least one of every eight workers was a unionist last year.