The Stand

Biggest gains in unions are young workers

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The following is from the Economic Policy Institute:

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Jan. 30, 2018) — Last week, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released data on changes in union membership from 2016 to 2017. It was good news for workers, as the total number of union members grew by 262,000 in 2017. Three-fourths of these gains (198,000) were among workers aged 34 and under, who account for less than 40 percent of total employment.

Historically, younger workers have been less likely than older workers to be a member of union. In 2017 about 7.7 percent of workers 16–34 were members of a union, compared with 12.6 percent of workers age 35 and older.

But last year, of the 858,000 net new jobs for workers under age 35, almost one in four (23 percent) was a union job.

In a recent EPI paper, we explain that one reason younger workers are joining unions is to address current workforce trends that are increasing work insecurity from the rise of part-time work and unpaid internships to increased numbers of contract workers.


ALSO at The Stand — Washington state posts big gains in union membership — An estimated 584,000 Washington state residents belonged to labor unions in 2017, a new report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows, an increase of 45,000 from the previous year and 84,000 since 2015. National union membership levels, which have dropped in recent years as Republican lawmakers passed more union-busting “right-to-work” laws, held steady at 10.7 percent in 2017. But unions gained members in many free-bargaining states like Washington, where the union membership level increased from to 17.4 percent in 2016 to 18.8 percent last year. With its 18.8 percent union membership rate, Washington rises to the 3rd most unionized state in the nation.

Union members earn higher wages, with median weekly earnings of $1,041 compared to $829 for nonunion, according to the new BLS report. With union wages averaging 25 percent higher than nonunion wages, full-time union members make more than $54,000 per year on average, which is $11,000 more than nonunion workers.


EDITOR’S NOTE — Find out how you and your co-workers can join together and negotiate for better wages, benefits and working conditions. Contact a union organizer today!

Short URL: http://www.thestand.org/?p=63519

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