Special Report

15 Cities Where Unions Are Disappearing

Source: Thinkstock

10. Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FL
> Unionized workers 2006: 12.8%
> Unionized workers 2016: 4.1%
> 10 yr. workforce change: +26,263 (+14.7%)
> Industry shedding the most jobs: Construction

As recently as 10 years ago, over half of all public sector workers in the Daytona Beach metro area were unionized. Today, fewer than 1 in 5 belong to a union. The decline in public sector organized labor largely explains the 8.7 point decline in the percentage of area workers with union membership in the last decade. With less than 3% participation, private sector union membership has been relatively insignificant in the metro area for at least the last 10 years.

The declining union membership in the metro area’s public sector is likely also attributable to a shrinking workforce. In 2006, there were 38,500 public workers in the area. As of 2016, there were only about 27,400.

Source: Thinkstock

9. Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, OH-PA
> Unionized workers 2006: 24.1%
> Unionized workers 2016: 15.1%
> 10 yr. workforce change: +13,224 (+7.3%)
> Industry shedding the most jobs: Manufacturing

Workers in the manufacturing industry are among the most likely to be unionized. The Youngstown-Warren-Boardman metro area shed nearly 12,000 manufacturing jobs in the last decade, more than any other industry. The decline likely contributed to a reduction of 14,000 union members over the same period.

Pennsylvania and Ohio are not right-to-work states, and despite declining union membership, organized labor still has a relatively strong presence in the area. Some 15.1% of Youngstown-Warren-Boardman metro area’s workers belong to a union — well above the 10.7% share of the U.S. labor force.

Source: Thinkstock

8. Oshkosh-Neenah, WI
> Unionized workers 2006: 16.7%
> Unionized workers 2016: 7.5%
> 10 yr. workforce change: +24,504 (+35.2%)
> Industry shedding the most jobs: Public administration

Over the last decade, Wisconsin was at the center of the debate over the role of labor unions. After years of turmoil surrounding the issue, Wisconsin’s anti-union Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill in 2015, officially making Wisconsin a right-to-work state.

Overall union membership in the Oshkosh-Neenah metro area over the last decade has fallen by 39.2%. The net decline in membership was driven exclusively by the public sector, which shed 84.5% of union positions over the same period. Meanwhile, union membership in the area’s private sector climbed by about 1,700 over the same period. The changing landscape of unionization in Oshkosh-Neenah marks a departure from the national trend of declining private sector union participation.

Source: Katherine Welles / Shutterstock.com

7. Bowling Green, KY
> Unionized workers 2006: 13.7%
> Unionized workers 2016: 2.7%
> 10 yr. workforce change: +36,143 (+105.9%)
> Industry shedding the most jobs: N/A

There were about 4,700 unionized private sector workers in Bowling Green in 2006. Today, there are fewer than 1,000. Consequently the overall share of area workers who are union members declined from 13.7% in 2006 to 2.7% in 2016.

Unions in the state are currently suing Gov. Matt Bevin for signing a bill earlier this year, officially making Kentucky a right-to-work state. Labor unions claim the new law is in violation of the state constitution.

Source: Thinkstock

6. Trenton, NJ
> Unionized workers 2006: 20.7%
> Unionized workers 2016: 8.8%
> 10 yr. workforce change: -13,274 (-8.6%)
> Industry shedding the most jobs: Information

Trenton is one of two New Jersey metro areas where unions are disappearing. Driven by deunionization in the public sector, the number of union workers in the Trenton metro area has declined 61.2% since 2006.

Despite the decline in New Jersey’s capital city, labor unions remain a powerful political force in the Garden State. Recently, New Jersey’s largest teacher’s union spent over a quarter million dollars in a campaign to unseat State Senate President Stephen Sweeney in the election this November.