Missouri leads public sector union membership growth

Overall union membership in U.S. falls to 10.5 percent

Union membership fell by two percentage points between 2017 and 2018 to 10.5 percent of workers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), with public sector unionization dropping half a percentage point following last year’s U.S. Supreme Court decision in Janus v. AFSCME, which barred requiring fees from public service workers who receive union benefits but choose not to join the union.

But while the rate of federal and state public sector union members declined, it increased for local government workers.

Federal government workers’ union membership fell two percentage points and state government membership share fell 1.7 percentage points, but local government added 64,000 union workers in 2018, increasing its membership share by two percentage points to 40.3 percent.

The five states that saw the largest increases in public sector union membership were Missouri (up 48,000), Washington (up 34,000), Ohio (up 31,000), Arizona (up 29,000), and Florida (up 27,000). The five states that saw the largest decrease in union membership were California (down 126,000), Texas (down 41,000), Michigan (down 34,000), Virginia (down 32,000), and Connecticut (down 23,000).

In the private sector, the five states that saw the largest increases in union membership were Massachusetts (up 49,000), California (up about 41,000), Pennsylvania (up about 36,000), Washington (up 31,000), and Colorado (up 27,000).

In 2018, the states with the five largest increases in union membership were Washington (up 65,000), Massachusetts (up 63,000), Arizona (up 45,000), Colorado (up 43,000), and Alabama (up 42,000).

Professional and related occupations saw the largest growth in private sector union membership (up about 82,000), followed by protective service occupations (up about 19,000).

In the public sector, the largest growth in union membership was transportation and material moving occupations (up about 49,000), followed by office and administrative support occupations (up about 20,000).

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