Document Type

White Paper


University of Maine Bureau of Labor Education

Publication Date

Spring 2001

Publisher location

Orono, Maine

Abstract/ Summary

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, in 2000 the actual number of union members in the U.S. declined by 219,000 from the previous year. The percentage of U.S. wage and salary workers who were unionized dropped from 13.9 percent in 1999 to 13.5 percent in 2000. In comparison, during 1999 the number of union members increased by 266,000. Historically, this increase comprised the largest annual growth in union membership in twenty years. Not since 1979, did a larger increase occur with workers joining unions.2 The decrease in the number and percent of union members in 2000 reflects the continued historical decline in the number and percentage of workers who are organized in terms of the overall U.S. wage and salary workforce. In addition, a closer review of the reported data shows that unionization levels have continued to vary markedly according to demographic, occupational, and geographic characteristics of the U.S. population.


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