News Release Information

18-27-CHI
Tuesday, February 20, 2018

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Technical information:
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Union Members in Wisconsin — 2017

In 2017, union members accounted for 8.3 percent of wage and salary workers in Wisconsin, compared with 8.1 percent in 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Assistant Commissioner for Regional Operations Charlene Peiffer noted that the state's union membership rate was at its peak in 1989, when it averaged 20.9 percent, and at the series low in 2016. (See chart 1 and table A.) Nationwide, union members accounted for 10.7 percent of employed wage and salary workers in 2017, unchanged from 2016. Since 1989, when comparable state data became available, Wisconsin’s union membership rates were at or above the U.S. average through 2014, and below the average since 2015.

Wisconsin had 230,000 union members in 2017. In addition to these members, another 20,000 wage and salary workers in Wisconsin were represented by a union on their main job or covered by an employee association or contract while not being union members themselves. (See table A.)  Nationwide, 14.8 million wage and salary workers were union members in 2017 and 1.6 million wage and salary 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, 2007–2017 (numbers in thousands)
YearTotal employedMembers of unions (1)Represented by unions (2)
TotalPercent of employedTotalPercent of employed

2007

2,63137614.340515.4

2008

2,64239615.042216.0

2009

2,52838515.240015.8

2010

2,50835514.238015.1

2011

2,53833913.335814.1

2012

2,60529311.231212.0

2013

2,56931712.333713.1

2014

2,62630611.732712.5

2015

2,6822238.32539.4

2016

2,6962198.12449.0

2017

2,7782308.32509.0

Footnotes:
(1) Data refer to members of a labor union or an employee association similar to a union.
(2) Data refer to both union members and 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. All self-employed workers are excluded, both those with incorporated businesses as well as those with unincorporated businesses. Updated population controls are introduced annually with the release of January data.
 

In 2017, 27 states and the District of Columbia had union membership rates below that of the U.S. average, 10.7 percent, while 22 states had rates above it and 1 state had the same rate. (See table 1.) Nine states had union membership rates below 5.0 percent in 2017, with South Carolina having the lowest rate (2.6 percent). The next lowest rates were in North Carolina (3.4 percent) and Utah (3.9 percent). Two states had union membership rates over 20.0 percent in 2017: New York (23.8 percent) and Hawaii (21.3 percent). (See chart 2.)

Nationwide, union membership rates increased over the year in 25 states and the District of Columbia, decreased in 21 states, and were unchanged in 4 states.

The largest numbers of union members lived in California (2.5 million) and New York (2.0 million). Over half of the 14.8 million union members in the U.S. lived in just seven states (California, 2.5 million; New York, 2.0 million; Illinois, 0.8 million; Michigan and Pennsylvania, 0.7 million each; and New Jersey and Ohio, 0.6 million each), though these states accounted for only about one-third of wage and salary employment nationally.


Technical Note

The estimates in this release are obtained from the Current Population Survey (CPS), which provides 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 eligible households. The union membership 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.

Beginning in January of each year, data reflect revised population controls used in the CPS. Additional information about population controls is available on the BLS website at www.bls.gov/cps/documentation.htm.

Information about the reliability of data from the CPS and guidance on estimating standard errors is available at www.bls.gov/cps/documentation.htm#reliability.   

Definitions

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

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

Union membership rate. Data refer to the proportion of total wage and salary workers who are union members.

Represented by unions. Data refer to both union members and workers who report 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. Union membership and earnings data exclude all self-employed workers, both those with incorporated businesses as well as those with unincorporated businesses.

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

Table 1. Union affiliation of employed wage and salary workers by state, 2016-2017 annual averages (numbers in thousands)
State20162017
Total
employed
Members of unions(1)Represented by
unions(2)
Total
employed
Members of unions(1)Represented by
unions(2)
TotalPercent
of
employed
TotalPercent
of
employed
TotalPercent
of
employed
TotalPercent
of
employed

Alabama

1,8951538.11709.01,8691387.41528.1

Alaska

2975518.55919.93045518.15919.4

Arizona

2,7271224.51515.52,8051114.01455.2

Arkansas

1,186473.9595.01,209625.1746.1

California

16,0012,55115.92,79617.516,0642,49115.52,70816.9

Colorado

2,4382389.826310.82,4942389.627311.0

Connecticut

1,56827517.528818.41,64527816.929517.9

Delaware

4194811.45613.34254510.74811.2

District of Columbia

343329.53710.7347349.84011.5

Florida

8,1134565.65747.18,5734805.65706.6

Georgia

4,2491653.92104.94,3421734.02175.0

Hawaii

59711919.912520.960512921.313922.9

Idaho

689426.1476.8723354.8425.8

Illinois

5,58781214.585615.35,51682715.087215.8

Indiana

2,92730410.433511.42,9872668.92899.7

Iowa

1,4541298.915310.51,4751047.01278.6

Kansas

1,2741098.613210.31,2961017.813110.1

Kentucky

1,71019011.122813.41,8101749.623212.8

Louisiana

1,799764.2884.91,780784.4965.4

Maine

5676511.47713.55766611.48114.0

Maryland

2,81531011.034712.32,77229910.832611.8

Massachusetts

3,15838112.140712.93,23140112.443113.3

Michigan

4,19660614.465115.54,23065815.671116.8

Minnesota

2,56336514.238815.22,69341115.242815.9

Mississippi

1,108736.6908.11,106595.3777.0

Missouri

2,7112629.729010.72,6132268.726510.1

Montana

4185011.95813.94195011.95713.6

Nebraska

876647.4748.5858708.2789.1

Nevada

1,21114612.118215.01,29016412.718914.6

New Hampshire

669639.47411.06427211.38313.0

New Jersey

4,00764416.166616.63,89863016.266517.1

New Mexico

784496.3648.2769526.7638.3

New York

8,2271,94223.62,07525.28,4722,01723.82,14825.3

North Carolina

4,2251293.01744.14,3051453.41714.0

North Dakota

363205.5257.0356185.1246.8

Ohio

4,97061712.470214.15,06263512.568813.6

Oklahoma

1,482805.4976.61,536845.51087.1

Oregon

1,69122813.526715.81,76326214.927715.7

Pennsylvania

5,68668512.172412.75,54366512.072313.0

Rhode Island

4817415.58116.94867816.18417.2

South Carolina

1,981321.6522.61,986522.6783.9

South Dakota

379205.2267.0380205.4256.7

Tennessee

2,7461585.71746.42,7281555.71766.4

Texas

11,4574624.06065.311,6265434.76695.8

Utah

1,318624.7796.01,375543.9745.4

Vermont

2903311.53712.92883211.03512.1

Virginia

3,7481604.32266.03,8011764.62225.8

Washington

3,09053917.457718.73,11258418.863020.2

West Virginia

6697911.88813.26837511.08211.9

Wisconsin

2,6962198.12449.02,7782308.32509.0

Wyoming

248166.3187.3243156.0166.7

Footnotes
(1) Data refer to members of a labor union or an employee association similar to a union.
(2) Data refer to both union members and 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. All self-employed workers are excluded, both those with incorporated businesses as well as those with unincorporated businesses. Updated population controls are introduced annually with the release of January data.
 

 

Last Modified Date: Tuesday, February 20, 2018