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Home » Recent News » Union Membership Rises Nationwide in 2020

Union Membership Rises Nationwide in 2020


New research from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that union membership increased in the US in 2020. According to BLS data, union membership rose to 10.8% in 2020, up .5% from 2019.

While the total number of wage and salary workers belonging to unions (14.3 million) was down by 321,000, or 2.2%, from 2019, the decline in total wage and salary worker employment in the US was mostly among non-union workers. “The disproportionately large decline in total wage and salary employment compared with the decline in the number of union members led to an increase in the union membership rate,” according to the report.

Some highlights from the report include:

  • The median usual weekly earnings of union members was $1,144 in 2020—16% higher than median weekly wages earned by non-union laborers ($958).
  • The rate of union membership in the public sector, at 34.8%, remained five times higher than the private sector’s rate of 6.3%. Rates in both sectors increased as a result of decline in total employment, which affected non-union workers the most.
  • Protective service occupations had the largest unionization rates with 36.6%. Education, training and library occupations followed with a rate of 35.9%. Farming, fishing, and forestry occupations had the lowest rate at 2.6%, followed by sales and related occupations at 3.2%.
  • Black workers continued to have the highest union membership rate by ethnicity, with a rate of 12.3%. White workers followed at 10.7%, Hispanic workers at 9.8%, and Asian workers at 8.9%.
  • The union membership rate for women rose by .8% to 10.5%, nearing the rate for men (11%). Regardless of gender, workers aged 45-64 continued to have the highest union membership rate at 13.2%.
  • Thirty states fall below the US average union membership rate of 10.8%. Hawaii and New York have the highest rates, at 23.7% and 22.0% respectively, while nine states had rates below 5%.

To read the complete report, visit

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