Jan 23, 2020 - Economy & Business

Labor union membership declines

In this image, a man stands in a circle with "union strong" on his sweatshirt.
United Auto Workers outside the GM Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant, October 2019. Photo: Jeff Kowalsky/AFP via Getty Images

Labor union membership in the U.S. continued to drop in 2019, new data released Wednesday from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows.

The big picture: Amid this slight dip in union membership — which decreased 0.2% from 2018 — the United Auto Workers led the largest demonstration by any union against any U.S. business since UAW's last strike against General Motors in 2007.

What they're saying: 51% of Americans said in 2018 that decreasing union representation is "mostly bad for working people in the U.S.," according to Pew Research, while 35% said it has been "mostly good."

Where it stands: Public-sector workers' union membership has continued to be five times higher than private-sector workers, BLS reported, and men have a slightly higher membership rate than women.

  • Nonunion workers took home median weekly earnings that were 81% of union members' earnings.

Of note: Over half of the 14.6 million union members recorded in 2019 lived in just seven states — California, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio and Washington.

Go deeper: Unions shrink fast in swing states

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