Union membership rate falls to record low

Jan. 20, 2023
In 2021, 10.3% of workers were in a union, and that number fell to 10.1% in 2022.

A new report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the union membership rate is down. In 2021, 10.3% of workers were in a union, and that number fell to 10.1% in 2022. Despite this decrease, there is good news for the unions. In 2022, there were 14.3 million workers in unions, an increase of 273,000 workers or 1.9% over the previous year, but the number of non-union workers grew by 3.9%. The Bureau reports that the 2022 unionization rate is the lowest on record.

The manufacturing industry, however, saw a small increase in unionization. In 2021, 7.7% of employees were members of unions and 8.5% were represented by unions. Those numbers increased to 7.8% and 8.6%, respectively, in 2022.

In a recent statement, AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler said, “In 2022, we saw working people rising up despite often illegal opposition from companies that would rather pay union-busting firms millions than give workers a seat at the table. The momentum of the moment we are in is clear. Organizing victories are happening in every industry, public and private, and every sector of our economy all across the country. The wave of organizing will continue to gather steam in 2023 and beyond despite broken labor laws that rig the system against workers.”

Appreciation for unions seems to be on the rise. In a 2022 Gallup poll, 71% of Americans said that they approve of labor unions, the highest reading since 1965. The poll also showed that one in six Americans live in a household with a union member.