Union Membership Growing

Union membership numbers, released by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Jan. 20, show a significant increase of 213,000 union members in the past year while union density remained steady at 12.5 percent. Those numbers reverse a trend of decline in recent years as good union jobs disappeared.

“In a political climate that’s hostile to workers’ rights, these numbers illustrate the extraordinary will of workers to gain a voice on the job despite enormous obstacles,” said AFL-CIO President John Sweeney.

Also in 2005, BLS figures show the increase in union members’ wages was double the increase in wages of nonunion members, underscoring just how important union membership is to workers at a time when wages are being held flat and health care and retirement costs are being shifted from employers to employees.