Union Workforce Grew In Private Sector In 2013

March 2014, Vol. 69 No. 3

Recently announced Department of Labor (DOL) statics show that the unionized private-sector workforce grew in 2013 to about 8.1 million workers, the most since 2009 and an increase of 277,000 workers from 2012, as reported by the Pipe Line Contractors Association.

The increase in workers results partly from increased hiring in construction and manufacturing. In construction, the numbers of union-represented workers increased by 117,000 workers, while in manufacturing 90,000 union-represented workers were added.

As a percentage of all U.S. wage and salary workers, however, union representation dropped from 12.5 percent in 2012 to 12.4 percent in 2013, a record low, as public sector unionization shrank to its lowest point since 2000 of 38.7 percent. Other DOL figures showed that private sector, full-time median weekly earnings of union-represented workers were 21 percent higher than their nonunion counterparts in 2013, $887 versus $731.