Union membership up in California, down nationwide

January 30, 2017

californiaAt a time when union membership is decreasing nationwide, participation in organized labor is rising in California. [OC Register]

In 2016, there were 2.55 million union members in California, the highest total in the nation, according to a report released by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. As a percentage of the workforce, California was the sixth largest state for organized labor.

Union members comprised 15.9 percent of California’s workforce last year. California trailed New York (23.6 percent), Hawaii (19.9 percent), Alaska (18.5 percent), Connecticut (17.5 percent) and Washington (17.4 percent) in union members as a percentage of workforce.

New York had a total of 1.9 million union members in 2016. No state other than California and New York has more than 1 million.

Last year, union membership grew by 65,000 workers, or 2.6 percent, in California. Nationwide, union membership decreased by 1.6 percent, or 237,000 workers. There was a total of 14.6 million union members in the United States in 2016.

Over the past decade, unions in California grew by 130,000 members. However, there were 800,000 fewer union members nationwide in 2016 than there were in 2006.

Nationally, organized workers earned about 25 percent more than nonunion workers in weekly pay. Union members made $1,004 in weekly pay, while nonunion workers made $802.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics did not release figures pertaining to union member pay in California.

Nationwide, union members accounted for 34 percent of government workers compared to 6.4 percent of private sector employees. The education sector (39 percent), protective services sector (38 percent) and construction/extraction sector (18 percent) accounted for most organized labor positions.

Federal data suggests, in last year’s election, President Donald Trump capitalized on former union members losing their jobs.

The 30 states Trump won had a total of 5.5 million union members last year, or 7 percent of their workforce, whereas the other 20 states and Washington, D.C. hat a total of 9.1 million union members, or 15 percent of their workforce. Union rolls in states Trump won decreased by 244,000 last year, while they rose by 7,000 in the states the president lost.

In particular, the key states of Florida and Pennsylvania — both of which Trump won – had 90,000 and 62,000 fewer union members respectively last year than they did in 2015.

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Not every union member is a government worker. Even still, the rank and file government workers NEED a union to stand up for poor working conditions. Look at SLO COUNTY JAIL. Those workers need their unions to be stronger to back their employees as they stand up to the administrators who refuse to change things.

Historically, unions were formed to allow for safe working conditions, fair hiring/firing practices, and to be the voice of the every day worker.

I LOVE being in a union. I can face administration for patient safety without retribution. That protects me, and it protects my patients. It also allows me to bargain for fair pay. My experience and education have value, and I have every right to negotiate that with my colleagues.

Maybe this is why California is slowly falling apart financially. All anyone has to do is go on to the internet at CaliforniaTransparent and see what government employees are receiving for pay and benefit packages. Their unions are doing a fantastic job for them while at the same time raping we the taxpayers who are supporting them.

I need to add to the situation that all anyone has to do is check what the unfunded pension liabilities are for your city, county and the state and you will see disaster in the making.

Could it be that most all public employees unions are closed shop and for all intent and purposes, the employees must join, fare share or not….and the California bureaucracy is growing by leaps and bounds?????

Yes, unions can be a good thing but NOT where organized employment protection already exist. If 34 percent of government workers are in an organized union, why not consider the union dues funded by the taxpayers to be in addition to their civil service protection costs? It is no wonder why the private sector is dwindling and elections generally favor what the government workers need to justify their growing employment / unions. Sure we can ignore the facts and just pay more taxes while factually correct too, government employees will say they pay their own union dues. In my opinion this is one of the many reasons why we can’t afford the government expansion. I believe that there needs to be a serious discussion on taxpayer funded unions as in what services are we funding?

No city,count or state employee should more of a pay raise than the retired military,federal civil service or social security which is lower than than annual inflation. Cannoncocker

In this day and age, we have so many regulations that unions only serve those who run them, as well as the politicians they fund. In particular, tax payer funded public sector unions should not be allowed to exist. They work for us.

Is there a breakdown of the union workforce between private and public sector? Likely private sector union membership is down for many reasons, including businesses leaving the state and public sector is up, also due to several reasons, none good.