Monday, February 8, 2010

The Unions of the States

Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR)

February 2010, John Schmitt

Executive Summary

This report reviews unionization rates, the size and
composition of the unionized workforce, and the wage and
benefit advantage for union workers in each of the fifty
states and the District of Columbia, using the most
recent data available and focusing on the period
2003-2009. Pooling data from the monthly Current
Population Survey (CPS) over that period yields a sample
size large enough to look at the experience of even the
smallest states.

Unionization rates vary substantially across the states,
from below 5 percent of the overall workforce in South
Carolina and North Carolina, to over 25 percent in New
York and Hawaii. The unionization rate in the state
right in the middle with respect to unionization is 12.6
percent (the rate in Missouri and Vermont). The absolute
number of union workers in each state also varied
greatly in 2009, from just 20,000 in Wyoming to about
2.6 million in California.

Across all the states, however, unionization is strongly
associated with increases in overall compensation,
measured here by hourly wages and health and pension
benefit coverage. In the typical state, unionization is
associated with about a 15 percent increase in hourly
wages (roughly $2.50 per hour), a 19-percentage-point
increase in the likelihood of having employer-provided
health insurance, and a 24-percentage-point increase in
the likelihood of having employer-sponsored retirement

See report in pdf here.

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