Union Membership in
According to the Bureau of Labor
Statistics (BLS), 15.1 percent (68,000) of Rhode Island private
and public sector workers were union members in 2014. This
represented an over-the-year decrease of one and eight-tenths
percentage points, or 9,000 workers. The number of union members
were at its lowest level in over twenty years and accounted for
the smallest percentage of employed workers since 2007 (15.0%).
Nationally, the union membership rate
was 11.1 percent in 2014, down two-tenths of a percentage point
from 2013 and well below the 20.1 percent measured in 1983.
Among the fifty states, Rhode Island, along with Illinois,
reported the eighth highest union membership rate, trailing New
York (24.6%), Alaska (22.8%), Hawaii (21.8%), Washington
(16.8%), New Jersey (16.5%), California (16.3%) and Oregon
(15.6%). North Carolina (1.9%), South Carolina (2.2%),
Mississippi (3.7%) and Utah (3.7%) had the lowest union
membership rates in 2014.
Regionally, the Ocean State had the
highest union membership rate in New England, followed by
Connecticut (14.8%) and Massachusetts (13.7%). Vermont (11.1%),
Maine (11.0%) and New Hampshire (9.9%) had union membership
rates at or below the national average.
Union members and
workers whose jobs are covered by a union or employee
association contract represented 12.3 percent of the nation’s
wage and salary workers and 15.8 percent of Rhode Island’s wage
and salary workers.
* 1983 is the first year for which comparable union data
Data included within this report is derived from the Current Population
Survey (CPS), a monthly survey of households conducted by the Bureau of
Census for the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Union membership data refers to
members of a labor union or an employee association similar to a union.
Union representation data includes union members as well as workers who
report no union affiliation, but whose jobs are covered by a union or an
employee association contract. For more information on CPS data, please