Union Membership Shows Small Increase in 2017

Union membership in Ohio, throughout the nation and in the construction industry showed a small increase in 2017.

According to an annual report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 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 due to the overall high number of new jobs created last year.

In Ohio, there were 635,000 union members in 2018, up 18,000 from the previous year, who made up 12.5 percent of the state’s workforce.

In 2017, the overall number of union construction workers nationwide 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 lack 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. Anyone interested in beginning a career with a Northwest Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council affiliate can click here to learn more.

The BLS report showed that nationwide, union members continue to earn more than non-union workers, as 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 extended to a full year, union construction workers will earn a full-time median income of just under $21,000 more per year than their non-union counterparts.

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

The wage gap between working men and women remains smaller for union members than non-union members. Union women earned a median weekly income of $132 per week less than their male counterparts, while non-union women earned $168 less on average per week than men performing the same non-union job.

The BLS report also showed unionized African-Americans and Hispanics (both men and women) had a higher full-time weekly median income compared to non-union minorities of the same race.

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