Ohio, Nation see increased union membership

According to an annual report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, union membership in Ohio increased slightly, but overall job creation did not change the state’s overall union density.

Last year in Ohio, there were 635,000 union members, an increase of 18,000, who made up 12.5 percent of the state’s workforce. The overall number of Ohioans represented by unions, which includes non-dues paying members, fell from 14.1 percent (702,000) to 13.6 percent (688,000).

Nationwide, union membership in the United States grew by 262,000 members in 2017, from 14.5 million to 14.8 million. The overall U.S. union density stayed the same, at 10.7 percent, despite the addition of over 250,000 union jobs due to the overall high number of new jobs created last year.

For AFL-CIO President Richard Trumpka, the data reflects a growing union movement.

“But today’s data is more than numbers on a page; it’s a growing movement of working people that can’t be measured as easily,” said Trumpka in a prepared statement. “When more union members fill the halls of power, when wages rise and inequality shrinks, and when a growing number of people see that we can and will change the rules of this economy – that’s when you’ll know unions are on the rise.”

Construction remains one of the heaviest unionized private industries.

The building trades unions saw an uptick in membership in 2017, as the overall number of union construction workers increased from 1.17 million to 1.26 million. Within the construction industry, union membership increased nearly 1 percent from 18.4 percent to 19.3 percent.

Despite this increase in union construction workers, there remains a shortage of highly trained and highly skilled building trades members. These in-demand careers, which cannot be outsourced, continue to pay union members better than non-union members.

The BLS report showed that nationwide, union members once again earned more than non-union workers.

Last year, union construction workers brought home a full-time median weekly income of $1,136, which is $402 more per week than those working non-union. In 2017, non-union construction workers earned a full-time median weekly income of $734.

When the figures are extrapolated to a full year, union construction workers will earn a full-time median income of almost $21,000 more per year than their non-union counterparts.

Specific state-related occupation and income figures from 2017 are currently not available.

Click here to learn for more information on becoming a member of one of the Cleveland Building and Construction Trade Council’s affiliated unions.

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