Given the level of union representation petitions at the NLRB, it was in fact no surprise when the Bureau of Labor Statistics issued its report last month revealing further declines in union membership.  The BLS reported that the overall union representation rate fell from 11.8% to 11.3%.  Looking at just private sector employment, the rate is even lower, at 6.6%.

Some of the other interesting data points in the BLS survey include:

  • Jobs in the public sector that are most likely to be unionized include teachers, firefighters, and police officers.
  • Industries in the private sector that are most likely to be unionized include construction and transportation/utilities.
  • Union membership rates for men were higher (12%) than for women (10.5%), although this gap has narrowed considerably since 1983, according to the BLS.
  • Full-time workers were more likely to be union members than part-time workers.
  • Union membership was the highest for workers ages 55 to 64 (14.9%) and the lowest for workers ages 16 to 24 (4.2%).
  • The manufacturing sector continues to lose union members, with the total number falling by 86,000.
  • Union membership losses were even more significant in the health care and social assistance sector, with union membership declining by 223,000.
  • In California, a state that tied New York for the most representation petitions filed in 2012, union membership increased by 110,000.