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Union Membership Rates Continue Decline

Created on January 27, 2012

Union Membership Rates Continue Decline

Union Membership Percentages




1935: 13.2% (year National Labor Relations Act signed into law)

Note: This chart displays union membership using two separate data sources: assorted union reports filed with the department of labor between 1930 and 1980 and data from the Current Population Survey. Data for 1982 have been interpolated.

Source: Data for 1930–1980: U.S. Department of Labor, assorted labor union reports, and Haver Analytics; 1977–2011: Heritage Foundation calculations using data from Barry T. Hirsch and David A. Macpherson, “Union Membership and Coverage Database from the Current Population Survey,” Unionstats.com, at http://www.unionstats.com, and from the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Percentage of Private Sector Wage and Salary Workers

Percentage of All Wage and Salary Workers

Percentage of Non-Agricultural Payroll Employment

1945: 35.5%

Chart 1 •  WM 3471