Statistics Show Increase in Union Membership in 2011 (1/27)

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A new report has shown that the total number of American workers belonging to a union has increased by tens of thousands in 2011. The news is considered by some to be proof that American workers understand that union representation leads to better wages, better benefits, and job security.


Below is a statement by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka along with some important statistics from the report.


Statement by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on 2011 Union Membership Report


Working men and women want to come together to improve their lives:  That’s the message from today’s report on 2011 union membership. Despite an unprecedented volley of partisan political attacks on workers’ rights and the continuing insecurity of our economic crisis, union membership increased slightly last year.


It is telling that as our country begins to recover the jobs lost during the Great Recession, good union jobs are beginning to come back. 


The ability to come together for a voice on the job gives working people the power to solve workplace problems, to innovate on the job, and to improve their working conditions. Collective bargaining brings democracy inside the workplace door and fosters a fair, strong middle class economy.  That’s why the labor movement is working with the next generation of workers, as well as emerging industries, to ensure that each person has a voice in the workplace and an economy that restores balance.


By the Numbers:

--In 2011, 14.8 million people were in unions.

--Overall union membership increased by 49,000, including 15,000 new 16- to 24-year-old members. --An increase of 110,000 in the private sector was partially offset by a decline of 61,000 in the public sector.

--Public sector density increased from 36.2% in 2010 to 37.0% in 2011.

--Private sector density remained at 6.9%.

--The largest increases in union membership were in:


   --Health care services

   --Retail trade

   --Primary metals and fabricated metal products


   --Transportation and warehousing


Sources:  Bureau of Labor Statistics and Center for Economic and Policy Research.



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