Midwest Information Office

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14-535-CHI

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

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Union Membership in Wisconsin – 2013

In 2013, union members accounted for 12.3 percent of wage and salary workers in Wisconsin compared with 11.2 percent in 2012, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. (See chart 1.) Regional Commissioner Charlene Peiffer noted that the union membership rate for the state was at its second-lowest point since comparable state data first became available in 1989. Nationally, union members accounted for 11.3 percent of employed wage and salary workers in 2013, the same percentage as 2012. Wisconsin’s union membership rate peaked in 1989 at 20.9 percent and reached a series low of 11.2 percent in 2012.

Chart 1.  Members of unions as a percent of employed in the United States and Wisconsin, 2004-2013


Wisconsin had 317,000 wage and salary workers who were union members in 2013. An additional 20,000 wage and salary workers were represented by a union on their main job or were covered by an employee association or contract while not being union members themselves. (See table A.) Nationwide, 14.5 million wage and salary workers were union members in 2013 and 1.5 million workers were not affiliated with a union but had jobs covered by a union contract.


Table A. Union affiliation of employed wage and salary workers in Wisconsin, annual averages, 2004-2013 (Numbers in thousands)
Year Total employed Members of unions (1) Represented by unions (2)
Total Percent of employed Total Percent of employed

2004

2,597 414 16.0 439 16.9

2005

2,551 410 16.1 438 17.2

2006

2,587 386 14.9 415 16.1

2007

2,631 376 14.3 405 15.4

2008

2,642 396 15.0 422 16.0

2009

2,528 385 15.2 400 15.8

2010

2,508 355 14.2 380 15.1

2011

2,538 339 13.3 358 14.1

2012

2,605 293 11.2 312 12.0

2013

2,569 317 12.3 337 13.1

Footnotes:
(1) Data refer to members of a labor union or an employee association similar to a union.
(2) Data refer to members of a labor union or an employee association similar to a union, as well as workers who report no union affiliation but whose jobs are covered by a union or an employee association contract.

NOTE: Data refer to the sole or principal job of full-and part-time wage and salary workers. Excluded are all self-employed workers regardless of whether or not their businesses are incorporated. Updated population controls are introduced annually with the release of January data.


In 2013, 20 states had union membership rates above the U.S. average, of which 9 had rates above 15 percent. (See table 1.) Of the nine states with the highest rates, two were located in the Midwest, three in the Northeast, and the remaining four bordered the Pacific Ocean. (See chart 2.) New York had the highest rate at 24.4 percent, followed by Alaska (23.1 percent) and Hawaii (22.1 percent). In fact, New York has had the highest union membership rate in the nation for 17 of the past 19 years.

Thirty states and the District of Columbia had union membership rates below the national average of 11.3 percent in 2013. Nine of these states had union membership rates below 5.0 percent with North Carolina having the lowest at 3.0 percent. The next lowest rate was recorded in Arkansas (3.5 percent), followed by Mississippi and South Carolina (both at 3.7 percent). Among the nine states with the lowest union membership rates, six were located in the South, two in the West, and one in the Midwest.

Over half of the 14.5 million union members in the U.S. lived in just seven states (California, 2.4 million; New York, 2.0 million; Illinois, 0.9 million; Pennsylvania, 0.7 million; and Michigan, New Jersey, and Ohio, 0.6 million each), though these states accounted for only about one-third of wage and salary employment nationally.

State union membership levels depend on both the union membership rate and the employment level. For example, Texas had about one-fourth as many union members as New York, despite having 2.7 million more wage and salary employees. Conversely, North Carolina and Hawaii had comparable numbers of union members (117,000 and 121,000, respectively), though North Carolina's wage and salary employment (3.9 million) was more than seven times that of Hawaii (549,000).


Technical Note

The estimates in this release are obtained from the Current Population Survey (CPS), which provides the basic information on the labor force, employment, and unemployment. The survey is conducted monthly for the Bureau of Labor Statistics by the U.S. Census Bureau from a scientifically selected national sample of about 60,000 households. The union membership and earnings data are tabulated from one-quarter of the CPS monthly sample and are limited to wage and salary workers. All self-employed workers are excluded.

Union membership data, particularly for levels, are not strictly comparable for earlier years because of the introduction of updated population controls used in the CPS. For technical documentation and related information, including reliability of the CPS estimates, see www.bls.gov/cps/documentation.htm#pop.

Information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: 202-691-5200; Federal Relay Service: 1-800-877-8339.

Definitions

The principal definitions used in this release are described briefly below.

Union members. Members of a labor union or an employee association similar to a union.

Represented by unions. Union members, as well as workers who have no union affiliation but whose jobs are covered by a union or an employee association contract.

Wage and salary workers. Workers who receive wages, salaries, commissions, tips, payment in kind, or piece rates. The group includes employees in both the private and public sectors, but, for the purposes of the union membership and earnings series, excludes all self-employed persons, regardless of whether or not their businesses are incorporated.



Table 1. Union affiliation of employed wage and salary workers by state, 2012-2013 annual averages (numbers in thousands)
State 2012 2013
Total employed Members of
unions(1)
Represented by
unions(2)
Total employed Members of
unions(1)
Represented by
unions(2)
Total Percent of employed Total Percent of employed Total Percent of employed Total Percent of employed

Alabama

1,807 166 9.2 190 10.5 1,894 203 10.7 222 11.7

Alaska

298 67 22.4 71 23.9 306 71 23.1 75 24.5

Arizona

2,434 125 5.1 159 6.5 2,452 122 5.0 147 6.0

Arkansas

1,157 37 3.2 43 3.7 1,072 38 3.5 44 4.1

California

14,483 2,489 17.2 2,666 18.4 14,835 2,430 16.4 2,579 17.4

Colorado

2,165 169 7.8 190 8.8 2,243 171 7.6 207 9.2

Connecticut

1,541 216 14.0 232 15.1 1,535 207 13.5 220 14.3

Delaware

377 39 10.4 44 11.8 370 38 10.3 41 11.0

District of Columbia

309 27 8.6 32 10.3 308 29 9.3 34 11.0

Florida

7,602 440 5.8 555 7.3 7,655 414 5.4 529 6.9

Georgia

3,914 171 4.4 210 5.4 3,958 209 5.3 248 6.3

Hawaii

537 116 21.6 124 23.2 549 121 22.1 129 23.6

Idaho

613 29 4.8 36 5.8 617 29 4.7 36 5.8

Illinois

5,486 801 14.6 852 15.5 5,397 851 15.8 882 16.3

Indiana

2,702 246 9.1 269 10.0 2,682 249 9.3 275 10.3

Iowa

1,390 145 10.4 172 12.4 1,421 143 10.1 171 12.0

Kansas

1,248 85 6.8 105 8.4 1,252 94 7.5 106 8.4

Kentucky

1,742 174 10.0 198 11.4 1,735 194 11.2 226 13.0

Louisiana

1,733 107 6.2 130 7.5 1,728 75 4.3 95 5.5

Maine

559 64 11.5 78 13.9 574 64 11.1 75 13.1

Maryland

2,636 280 10.6 325 12.3 2,665 308 11.6 349 13.1

Massachusetts

2,896 417 14.4 470 16.2 2,940 401 13.7 430 14.6

Michigan

3,785 629 16.6 648 17.1 3,889 633 16.3 656 16.9

Minnesota

2,465 351 14.2 368 14.9 2,532 362 14.3 381 15.0

Mississippi

1,113 48 4.3 64 5.7 1,040 38 3.7 44 4.2

Missouri

2,507 224 8.9 253 10.1 2,537 219 8.6 264 10.4

Montana

392 54 13.9 65 16.5 403 52 13.0 60 14.8

Nebraska

864 52 6.0 70 8.1 870 63 7.3 79 9.0

Nevada

1,101 162 14.7 181 16.4 1,154 169 14.6 186 16.1

New Hampshire

621 65 10.5 74 12.0 623 60 9.6 67 10.7

New Jersey

3,796 611 16.1 636 16.8 3,814 611 16.0 632 16.6

New Mexico

780 50 6.5 68 8.7 751 46 6.2 55 7.3

New York

7,936 1,841 23.2 1,975 24.9 8,149 1,986 24.4 2,104 25.8

North Carolina

3,805 112 2.9 162 4.3 3,879 117 3.0 184 4.8

North Dakota

329 20 6.1 27 8.2 342 22 6.4 29 8.5

Ohio

4,800 604 12.6 665 13.9 4,786 605 12.6 674 14.1

Oklahoma

1,531 115 7.5 140 9.1 1,516 114 7.5 144 9.5

Oregon

1,526 240 15.7 250 16.4 1,504 208 13.9 223 14.8

Pennsylvania

5,452 734 13.5 787 14.4 5,501 701 12.7 754 13.7

Rhode Island

455 81 17.8 84 18.4 459 77 16.9 82 17.8

South Carolina

1,773 58 3.3 82 4.6 1,855 69 3.7 86 4.7

South Dakota

351 20 5.6 24 6.7 362 17 4.8 21 5.8

Tennessee

2,586 124 4.8 152 5.9 2,543 155 6.1 188 7.4

Texas

10,590 599 5.7 721 6.8 10,877 518 4.8 647 6.0

Utah

1,179 61 5.2 77 6.6 1,253 49 3.9 67 5.4

Vermont

288 31 10.7 38 13.1 285 31 10.9 38 13.2

Virginia

3,592 159 4.4 197 5.5 3,601 180 5.0 229 6.4

Washington

2,776 513 18.5 541 19.5 2,882 546 18.9 568 19.7

West Virginia

697 84 12.1 91 13.1 686 87 12.7 93 13.5

Wisconsin

2,605 293 11.2 312 12.0 2,569 317 12.3 337 13.1

Wyoming

252 17 6.7 20 8.1 259 15 5.7 17 6.4

(1) Data refer to members of a labor union or an employee association similar to a union.
(2) Data refer to members of a labor union or an employee association similar to a union as well as workers who report no union affiliation but whose jobs are covered by a union or an employee association.

NOTE: Data refer to the sole or principal job of full- and part-time wage and salary workers. Excluded are all self-employed workers regardless of whether or not their businesses are incorporated. Updated population controls are introduced annually with the release of January data.



Chart 2. Union membership rates by state, 2013 annual averages

 

Last Modified Date: April 2, 2014

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