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Unions for government workers gaining ground

Published July 4, 2014 1:07 pm

Workforce • One in three public-sector workers is union, one in five in private sector.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Washington • Unions representing government workers are expanding while organized labor has been shedding private sector members over the past half-century.

A majority of union members today now have ties to a government entity — at the federal, state or local levels.

Roughly 1-in-3 public sector workers is a union member, compared with about 1-in-15 for the private sector workforce last year. That's according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Overall, 11.3 percent of U.S. wage and salary workers are unionized, down from a peak of 35 percent during the mid-1950s.

The typical union worker now is more likely to be an educator, office worker or food or service industry employee rather than a construction worker, autoworker, electrician or mechanic. Far more women than men are among the union-label ranks.