The States With The Strongest and Weakest Unions

The Ten States With the Weakest Unions

10. Oklahoma
> Workers in Unions: 5.5%
> Unions Workers: 77,415 (28th least)
> Change in Union Membership, 2000 – 2010: -19.1%
> Government Workers: 280,928 (25th least)
> Total Number of Workers: 1,417,791 (22nd least)

Between 2000 and 2010, Oklahoma has seen public union membership decline 21.4%, the fourth-greatest decrease in the country.  The state now has the eighth-lowest rate, with only 13.2% of public workers members in labor organizations. This most likely comes in part from an overall loss of union workers, from 93,000 in 2000 to 73,000 in 2010.

9. Texas
> Workers in Unions: 5.4%
> Unions Workers: 545,357 (9th most)
> Change in Union Membership, 2000 – 2010: -6.9%
> Government Workers: 1,640,448 (2nd most)
> Total Number of Workers: 10,025,473 (2nd most)

Texas has the second-highest amount of employed workers in the country, with more than 10 million people, yet the state has one of the lowest rates of union membership. Of the state’s 1,640,000 public workers, 16.9% are in unions, the 11th-lowest rate in the country.  The state also has the tenth-lowest rate of private sector union membership, with only 3.2% of workers in unions.  The percent of unionized workers increased by 7.9% between 2000 and 2010, the ninth-greatest amount.

Click Image to See Larger Chart of Change of Government Jobs

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

8. Tennessee
> Workers in Unions: 4.7%
> Unions Workers: 115,456 (23rd least)
> Change in Union Membership, 2000 – 2010: -47.2%
> Government Workers: 393,175 (16th most)
> Total Number of Workers: 2,477,414 (19th most)

The total number of employees in Tennessee has increased by 90,000, but union membership has declined from 211,000 to 115,000, a decrease of 96,000. This decline, a 45% decrease over ten years, is by far the largest of any state. Most of this drop-off in union workers occurred in the private sector, which lost more than 90,000 union workers in ten years. Today, only 2.2% of private workers are in unions, the second-lowest rate in the country.

7. South Carolina
> Workers in Unions: 4.65%
> Unions Workers: 79,583 (19th least)
> Change in Union Membership, 2000 – 2010: +15%
> Government Workers: 316,140 (25th most)
> Total Number of Workers: 1,713,003 (25th most)

Of South Carolina’s 316,000 public employees, 41,000 are unionized, or 13.1%.  With regards to the state’s 1,397,000 private employees, just 38,000 are unionized, or 2.7%.  However, despite a small drop in overall employment between 2000 and 2010, -1.5%, union membership is on the rise in the state.  The percentage of both public and private workers who are union members increased by 15% during the aughts, the greatest rate increase in the country.

6. Virginia
> Workers in Unions: 4.62%
> Unions Workers: 160,630 (21st most)
> Change in Union Membership, 2000 – 2010: -17.9%
> Government Workers: 749,001 (6th most)
> Total Number of Workers: 3,473,021 (12th most)

The total number of workers in Virginia has increased 8.6% between 2000 and 2010 – the 12th-greatest increase in the country. Despite this, the state has has remained mostly stagnant in public sector union membership. Additionally, numbers have actually decreased substantially in the private sector. Only 2.9% of employees in private sector jobs are union members, the eighth-lowest ranking in this category. The state also has the seventh-smallest percentage of public union workers in the country.

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