Strikes Still Very Rare In U.S. In 2014; Colorado Unionization Rate Up


There were only 11 strikes involving 1,000 or more workers in 2014, which involved 34,000 workers in all.  This was the second lowest rate of significant strikes by labor unions in recorded history after 2009, in which there were only 5 strikes involving 1,000 or more workers, which involved just 13,000 workers.

In Colorado, total union membership (representation by unions) rebounded from a low point of 6.6% (8.0%) in 2010 to 9.5% (10.7%) in 2014.  This is dramatic progress in just four years.  There are currently 221,000 union members in Colorado and another 29,000 employees in Colorado who aren’t union members but are represented by unions in a union shop.  In the private sector in Colorado in 2014 membership (representation) was 7.4% (8.0%), and in the public sector it was 19.9% (24.6%).

Nationally, in 2014, the private sector 6.6% (7.4%) of employees were members of unions (represented by unions), while in the public sector  35.7% (39.2%) of employees were members of unions (represented by unions), with both percentages generally tending to fall over the previous decade.

Within the public sector, nationally, union representation rates are highest with local government employees (45.5%), intermediate with state government employees (32.8%), and lowest with federal employees (31.6%).

Thus, Colorado’s private sector unionization rate exceeded the national average in 2014, but its public sector unionization rate was substantially below the national average.  About two-thirds of Colorado union members are in the private sector, and about 60% of people represented by Colorado unions are in the private sector.

Public employees rarely have the right to strike, but also rarely need the job security protections provided by traditional private sector workers who would otherwise be “at will” employees.

from Wash Park Prophet
via Denver News

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