Unionization Profiles

THE STATE OF THE UNIONS 2019: A PROFILE OF UNIONIZATION IN CHICAGO, IN ILLINOIS, AND IN THE UNITED STATES

Chicago:  On Labor Day 2019, researchers from the Illinois Economic Policy Institute, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and University of California, Irvine released the sixth annual State of the Unions report for Illinois. The study finds that unions play an important role in Illinois’ economy communities, despite declining union membership over the past decade.

Since 2009, Illinois’ union membership rate has declined by 2 percentage points. After a one-year uptick, Illinois’ unionization declined from 15.0% in 2017 to 13.8% in 2018. Unionization decreased in the Chicago metropolitan area by about 12,000 members over the year.

“Labor unions have recently faced many legislative and judicial setbacks including the Supreme Court decision in Janus v. AFSCME, which may have affected unionization rates,” said Professor Robert Bruno, who serves as Director of the Project for Middle Class Renewal at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

However, public sector workers continue to have high rates of union density. About half of all public sector workers are unionized in both Illinois (46.4%) and the Chicago metropolitan area (46.2%) as of 2018, exceeding the national public sector unionization rate (33.9%). In comparison, fewer than one-in-ten private sector workers (8.7%) are now union members in Illinois.

Despite declines in union membership, the report concludes that labor unions boost worker incomes by lifting hourly wages by an average of 11%. In addition, the authors find that African Americans, military veterans, and rural workers are disproportionately more likely to be union members in Illinois.

“Unions raise wages for everyone, but especially for low-income and middle-class workers,” said Frank Manzo IV, Policy Director of the Illinois Economic Policy Institute. “Unions reduce inequality, provide family-supporting careers for our nation’s heroes, and foster a strong middle class in communities across Illinois.”

THE STATE OF THE UNIONS 2018: A PROFILE OF UNIONIZATION IN MINNESOTA AND IN THE UNITED STATES

Unions play a vital role in Minnesota’s economy and communities. The Minnesota labor movement, however, will continue to face both short- and long-term challenges due to the political environment, the makeup of the United States Supreme Court, and broader economic trends. Labor’s response to these challenges will define its influence and effectiveness in the decades to come and will be critical to the survival of Minnesota’s middle class. Almost one-half of all public sector workers (46.0 percent) are unionized in Minnesota. Meanwhile, slightly more than one-third of all public sector workers are unionized across the nation (34.4 percent). In comparison, 8.3 percent of workers in Minnesota’s private sector are now union members which exceed the 6.5 percent unionization rate for private sector workers across the United States. In the future, the recent Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31, et al. Supreme Court decision that prohibited fair-share “agency fee” clauses from collective bargaining agreements could result in a decline in public sector union membership in Minnesota.

THE STATE OF THE UNIONS 2018: A PROFILE OF UNIONIZATION IN WISCONSIN AND IN THE UNITED STATES

Union membership is influenced by a number of factors. For example, employment in the public sector still raises the chances that a given worker is a union member. Native-born and naturalized citizens are also statistically more likely to be union members than their non-citizen counterparts. On the other hand, workers employed in the leisure and hospitality industry are all less likely to be union members than their counterparts in the production industry. Labor unions continue to increase individual incomes by lifting hourly wages. In Wisconsin, union worker wages are higher by an average of 12.0 percent. The state’s union wage effect is the 7th-highest in the nation. The union wage differential is greatest for the lowest-earning workers, where hourly incomes are increased by 12.2 percent over similar non-union workers. Unions, therefore, continue to foster a middle-class lifestyle in Wisconsin and play a vital role in Wisconsin’s economy and communities.

THE STATE OF THE UNIONS 2018: A PROFILE OF UNIONIZATION IN CHICAGO, IN ILLINOIS, AND IN THE UNITED STATES

Union membership is influenced by a number of factors. Employment in the public sector, construction, transportation and utilities, mining, educational and health services, and public administration industries all raise the chances that a given worker is a union member. African American workers are also statistically more likely to be union members than their racial or ethnic counterparts. On the other hand, workers employed in professional and related occupations, management, business, and financial occupations, workers employed in sales occupations, and financial occupations are less likely to be unionized. Labor unions increase individual incomes by lifting hourly wages, particularly for middle-income workers. In Illinois, unions raise worker wages by an average of 11.1 percent. The state’s union wage effect is the 11th-highest in the nation. The union wage differential is higher for middle-class workers (10.2 percent to 11.5 percent) than the richest 10 percent of workers (8.7 percent), helping to reduce income inequality. Unions play a vital role in Illinois’ economy and communities. The Illinois labor movement, however, will continue to face both short- and long-term challenges due to the political environment, the makeup of the United States Supreme Court, and broader economic trends. Labor’s response to these challenges will define its influence and effectiveness in the decades to come and will be critical to the long-run survival of Illinois’ middle class.

THE STATE OF THE UNIONS 2017 : A PROFILE OF UNIONIZATION IN CHICAGO, IN ILLINOIS, AND IN AMERICA

Since 2007, unionization has declined in Illinois, in the Chicago region, and in America. There are approximately 30,000 fewer union members in Illinois today than there were in 2007, contributing to the 1.1 million-member drop in union workers across the nation over that time. Declining union membership in Illinois has primarily been the result of decreases in male unionization.  Consequently, the total number of labor unions and similar labor organizations has declined over the past 10 years. There are 881 labor unions and similar organizations in Illinois, a decline of nearly 70 worker establishments over the past 10 years. While the unionization rate declined from 15.2 percent to 14.5 percent, the union membership rate for public sector workers is 5.5 percentage points higher in 2016 than it was in 2007. From 2015 to 2016, unionization rates marginally increased for Latino and Latina workers.

THE IMPACT OF “RIGHT TO WORK” LAWS ON LABOR MARKET OUTCOMES IN THREE MIDWEST STATES: EVIDENCE FROM INDIANA, MICHIGAN, AND WISCONSIN (2010-2016)

The movement to implement “right-to-work” (RTW) legislation has accelerated over recent years. Since 2012, RTW laws have been passed in Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Missouri. This report investigates the impact of RTW laws passed in three Midwest states for which there is available data – Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin – compared to a control group of three Midwest counterparts that remained collective-bargaining (CB) states – Illinois, Minnesota, and Ohio – from January 2010 through December 2016.

UNION DECLINE AND ECONOMIC REDISTRIBUTION: A REPORT ON TWELVE MIDWEST STATES

Inequality has risen to historically high levels in the United States. While there are many causes, this PMCR report finds that the most important labor market change has been the long-term decline in labor union membership. Unions raise wages, particularly for lower-income and middle-class workers. Union decline explains between one-fifth and one-third of the overall increase in inequality in the United States.

MINNESOTA UNION REPORT

Almost one half of all public sector workers are unionized in Minnesota and over half of all public sector workers are unionized in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. Meanwhile, slightly more than one-third of all public sector workers are unionized across the nation. In comparison, fewer than one-in-ten (8.0 percent) Minnesotans who work in the private sector are union members while just 6.7 percent of private sector workers are now unionized across America. There is a lot of positive news for Minnesota’s labor movement. Labor unions increase individual incomes by lifting hourly wages – particularly for low-income and middle-class workers. In Minnesota, unions raise worker wages by an average of 11.1 percent. The state’s union wage effect is the 11th-highest in the nation. The union wage differential is higher for the median worker (13.6 percent) than the richest 10 percent of workers (11.0 percent), helping to foster a strong middle class and reduce income inequality.

INDIANA UNION REPORT

This report, conducted by researchers at the Midwest Economic Policy Institute and the Project for Middle Class Renewal at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign analyzes the course of unionization in Indiana and in the United States from 2006 to 2015. Data from 2015 are also analyzed for the Indianapolis metropolitan statistical area (MSA). The study of Indiana tracks unionization rates and investigates union membership across demographic, educational, sectoral, industry, and occupational classifications. The study subsequently evaluates the impact that labor union membership has on a worker’s hourly wage in Indiana and in America. Additionally, data on labor unions and similar labor organizations are included and analyzed. As of 2015, the overall union membership rate is 10.0 percent in Indiana. A major finding of the report shows that Indiana’s “right-to-work” law has contributed to lower union membership. After the policy was implemented in 2012, union membership fell from 11.2 percent in 2011 to 10 in 2015. Other highlights include: Men are much more likely to be unionized (13.2 percent) than women (6.6 percent) and public sector unionization (27.4 percent) is nearly four times as high in Indiana as private sector unionization (7.5 percent).

WISCONSIN UNION REPORT

This report, conducted by researchers at the Midwest Economic Policy Institute, the University of Wisconsin-Extension School for Workers, and the Project for Middle Class Renewal at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign analyzes the course of unionization in Wisconsin, in the Milwaukee metropolitan statistical area (MSA), and in the United States from 2006 to 2015. The study of Iowa tracks unionization rates and investigates union membership across demographic, educational, sectoral, industry, and occupational classifications. The study subsequently evaluates the impact that labor union membership has on a worker’s hourly wage in Iowa and in the United States. Additionally, data on labor unions and similar labor organizations are included and analyzed. A few major findings of the report include: Declining union membership in Wisconsin has resulted from a number of factors, including the ongoing effects of Act 10 on the public sector and the continued loss of manufacturing jobs. From 2014 to 2015, union membership dropped 3.3 percentage points, from 11.6 percent to 8.3 percent.

IOWA UNION REPORT

This report, conducted by researchers at the Midwest Economic Policy Institute and the Project for Middle Class Renewal at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign analyzes the course of unionization in Iowa and in the United States from 2006 to 2015. Some data from 2015 are also analyzed for the Iowa City metropolitan statistical area (MSA). This version for Iowa tracks unionization rates and investigates union membership across demographic, educational, sectoral, industry, and occupational classifications. The study subsequently evaluates the impact that labor union membership has on a worker’s hourly wage in Iowa and in America. Additionally, data on labor unions and similar labor organizations are included and analyzed. A few notable findings from the report include: Unionization has declined in Iowa. Today, there are approximately 23,500 fewer union members in Iowa than there were in 2006, contributing to the reduction of 573,000 union workers across the nation over the past ten years. The decline in union membership has occurred in both the public sector and the private sector in Iowa. Consequently, the total number of labor unions and similar labor organizations has declined over the past decade. There are 211 labor unions and similar organizations in Iowa, a decline of 36 establishments over the past ten years (-15.5 percent).

THE STATE OF THE UNIONS 2016: A PROFILE OF UNIONIZATION IN CHICAGO, IN ILLINOIS, AND IN AMERICA

This report, conducted by researchers at the Illinois Economic Policy Institute, the University of Illinois Project for Middle Class Renewal, and Occidental College, analyzes the course of unionization in Illinois, in the Chicago metropolitan statistical area (MSA), and in the United States from 2006 to 2015. It is the third annual report of its kind for union members in the Chicago area and in Illinois. The report tracks unionization rates and investigates union membership across demographic, educational, sectoral, industry, and occupational classifications. The study subsequently evaluates the impact that labor union membership has on a worker’s hourly wage in Illinois, in the Chicago MSA, and in America. Additionally, data on labor unions and similar labor organizations are included and analyzed, new for the 2016 version of this report.