State of Unionization- 1994
Subject: Unionism on the Rise! Unions boost 

[Via from LaborNet]
Press Associates, Inc. (PAI) -- 2/21/94 

		    Unionists boost earnings edge:
			 By Robert B. Cooney
			   PAI Staff Writer
WASHINGTON (PAI)--Union membership rose to 16.6 million in 
1993 from 16.4 million a year earlier, breaking a 14-year 
downward slide, reported the U.S. Department of Labor. 
The AFL-CIO welcomed the news, saying the net gain of 
208,000 is particularly encouraging because the gains occurred 
largely during a recessionary period. 
"With the economy now beginning to pick up, we can expect 
the job losses that have afflicted unionized workers will abate," 
commented Rudy Oswald, the federation's chief economist. 
The union workers increased their advantage in weekly 
earnings to 35 percent over non-union workers, according to the 
department's Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Among full-time wage 
and salary workers, BLS said, union members had median earnings 
of $575 per week in 1993, compared with a median of $426 for 
workers not in unions, a union edge of $149 per week.  The median 
is the mid-point, with half the workers above and half below. 
Oswald noted that much of the growth in union membership 
came in the public sector, from 6.6 million members in 1992 to 7 
million last year.  He said the gain more than offset the member- 
ship decline in the manufacturing sector, where the loss of 
370,000 factory jobs displaced union workers. 
"Public employees are just like private-sector employees-- 
they perform much the same jobs in their communities," Oswald 
said.  "The only difference is their employers don't mount 
vicious anti-union campaigns to stop them from organizing." 
The government report observed that the proportion of all 
employees who were union members remained at 15.8 percent in 
1993, as employment rose at about the same rate as membership 
over the year. 
However, the report said that, in addition to the 16.6 
million union members in 1993, there were 2.0 million workers who 
were represented at their workplace by a union, though not union 
members themselves.  More than half the workers who were not 
union but were represented by a union, worked in government. 
Counting them would lift the union total to 17.6 million. 
On characteristic of union members, the BLS report said 
slightly less than three-fifths of union members (9.6 million) 
were in private industry, where they made up 11.2 percent of 
employment.  The remaining union members, at 7.0 million, were in 
federal, state and local government, where they made up 37.7 
percent of employment. 
In private industry, manufacturing had the largest number of 
union members (3.6 million), followed by transportation and 
public utilities (1.9 million), services (1.5 million), wholesale 
and retail trade (1.4 million), and construction (900,000).  The 
remaining major private industry groups each had fewer than 
150,000 union members. 
Among private industry groups, said the report, transporta- 
tion and public utilities had the highest union proportion at 30 
percent.  Other major groups with union membership above the 
private industry average were construction (20 percent), 
manufacturing (19 percent), and mining (16 percent).  The report 
said the remaining private industry groups had unionization rates 
ranging from 2 to 6 percent.  Despite relatively low unionization 
rates, trade and services combined employed 3 of every 10 members 
in private industry. 
BLS said the highest proportions of union membership among 
the major occupational groups, about 1 in 4, were found in the 
precision production, craft, and repair workers group (including 
mechanics, electricians, and similar skilled trades workers) and 
in the operators, fabricators, and laborers group (including 
machine and vehicle operators, assemblers, cleaners, and 
In contrast, the report said, union membership proportions 
were about 1 in 20 in the farming, forestry, and fishing 
occupations and 1 in 10 in the technical, sales, and administra- 
tive support workers group. 
The report showed the proportion of union membership was 
higher among men (18 percent) than women (13 percent).  It was 
higher among blacks (21 percent) than Hispanics or whites (both 
at 15 percent).  Within these major groups, black males had the 
highest union membership proportion (23 percent), while white 
females had the lowest (12 percent).  Workers aged 35 to 64 had a 
21 percent unionization rate, higher than either younger or older 
The report said 18 percent of full-time workers were union 
members, compared with 7 percent of part-timers. 
Reprinted from 2/21/94 Press Associates, Inc. 
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