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The States With The Strongest and Weakest Unions

5. California
> Workers in Unions: 17.5%
> Unions Workers: 2,431,276 (most)
> Change in Union Membership, 2000 – 2010: 9.4%
> Government Workers: 2,405,816 (most)
> Total Number of Workers: 13,891,632 (most)

With 13.9 million private and public sector employees, California has by far the largest workforce in the country. The state also has the most union members in the private and public sectors. California has just over 1 million private union workers and 1.4 million public union workers. In the last decade the state has lost nearly half a million employees, while increasing in net union members by 130,000. This gain is due to a substantial increase in public unions offsetting a slight decline in private union workers.

Click Image to See Larger Chart of Government Union Jobs By State

Union Membership, Coverage, Density and Employment by State, (2000-2010)

4. Washington
> Workers in Unions: 19.4%
> Unions Workers: 551,767 (8th most)
> Change in Union Membership, 2000 – 2010: 6.6%
> Government Workers: 535,691 (14th most)
> Total Number of Workers: 2,837,203 (14th most)

Washington ranks seventh for percentage of union membership for public workers, with 56.8%, and seventh for percentage of union membership for private workers, with 10.7%.  Washington also has the fifth-greatest rate of growth of union membership, at 17.2%, between 2000 and 2010.  Although union membership in the private sector dropped by 1.5% during this time period, membership in the public sector grew by 38.5%.  A total 80,919 workers joined labor organizations over this time period.

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3. Hawaii
> Workers in Unions: 21.8%
> Unions Workers: 111,344 (22nd least)
> Change in Union Membership, 2000 – 2010: -12.1%
> Government Workers: 103,330 (11th least)
> Total Number of Workers: 511,431 (9th least)

Hawaii has had the third-greatest declines in government union membership (-45.7%) in the last ten years. The state still has the 11th-highest union membership rate for public jobs in the country. The state’s private sector, however, has the largest proportion of union workers in the country, at 14.6% of all private jobs.

2. Alaska
> Workers in Unions: 22.9%
> Unions Workers: 67,624 (13th least)
> Change in Union Membership, 2000 – 2010: 4.6%
> Government Workers: 78,205 (8th least)
> Total Number of Workers: 295,063 (3rd least)

Alaska has the third-smallest population of employed people in the country, 295,063, but the second-highest rate of unionized workers, at 22.9%, or 67,624 workers.  Alaska has 55.4% of its public workers unionized, which is the ninth-highest rate in the country.  What helps elevate its overall standing even more, however, is the fact that 11.2% of its private workers are unionized, which is the third-highest rate in the country.

1. New York
> Workers in Unions: 24.2%
> Unions Workers: 1,958,725 (2nd most)
> Change in Union Membership, 2000 – 2010: -5.1%
> Government Workers: 1,503,358 (3rd most)
> Total Number of Workers: 8,077,936 (3rd most)

New York does not have the most union workers in the country, but the largest percentage of both its public and private workforce are members of labor organizations. The state has roughly 1.5 million workers in the public sector, and more than 1 million are union members. The 70% membership in public unions is nearly double the national average of 36.2%. Governor Andrew Cuomo is seeking  nearly $500 million in concessions from labor unions to narrow the state’s enormous budget gap.

Read on for The Ten States With the Weakest Unions

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