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Having data is important not only understanding the issues, but also in framing the questions. As I reviewed the government data on union membership, it is interesting to see the macro effects of the current state of membership.
Throughout the union, the top three states with union membership are New York (24.6%), Alaska (22.8%), and Hawaii (21.8%). This is reasonable when you consider that the overall public sector membership rate is 35.7% while in the private sector its 6.6%. The top three states are highly concentrated with government jobs. The lowest states are North Carolina at 1.9% and South Carolina at 2.2%.
Overall, the decline in union membership has continued since the 1983, from 20.1% to 11.1% in 2014. The segmentation between men and women indicates the gap is narrowing. In 1983, men membership in unions was 24.7% while women were 14.6%. Today, men represent 11.7% while women are at 10.5%. In percentage terms, the gap between men and women shrunk for membership, from 41% in 1983 to 10% in 2014.
The data is showing a decline of union membership, especially as a percent of the workforce. It’s encouraging to see there is almost no gap in membership between men and women. As a strategy, this is an area the unions can utilize for positive public sentiment and recruiting new members.
Gary Kapanowski – Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt – Excelsior
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