Illinois sees surge in new organizing petitions

La Grange, IL – Last year, as the number of union members in the U.S. workforce grew for the first time since 2017, Illinois saw its largest number of new union organizing petitions since 2014 and organized more workers than at any time in the last decade, according to new data compiled by the Illinois Economic Policy Institute (ILEPI) and the Project for Middle Class Renewal (PMCR) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Nevertheless, the growth of new industries that have yet to organize and a rise in vacant positions in the highly unionized public sector resulted in a decline in unionization rates in Illinois and nationally.

“From public approval of unions remaining at six-decade highs to significant growth in union membership nationally to a surge in successful new union organizing petitions in Illinois, the data offers good news for the Labor Movement,” said report co-author and ILEPI Economist Frank Manzo IV.

“That said, it also reflects broader labor market trends — including an economy in transition that is adding more low-paid service jobs and more lucrative knowledge-based opportunities with low union densities and a big increase in staff vacancies in traditionally unionized state and local government positions.”

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