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Oregon’s Unions Are Growing, According to Bureau of Labor Statistics

Today’s release of the annual union membership numbers by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that as the economy recovers, workers are standing up for a voice at work and the ability to collectively bargain. While the national number of union members was reduced by 0.2% from 11.1% in 2014, Oregon’s rate of union growth was the largest in the country: Union membership grew from 13.9% to 15.6%, and workers represented by unions grew from 14.8% to 17%.

Oregon AFL-CIO President Tom Chamberlain explained why Oregon’s unions are growing: “Oregonians want a better life, and we’re willing to stand up and demand it – just like we saw with food service employees at the Portland International Airport and with public health workers in Douglas County. On top of that, we’re seeing more workers heading back to the job from layoffs and furloughs as the economy improves.”

Key national trends in the BLS report include:

  • Union density edged up for workers 16 to 24 from 4.2 to 4.5%

  • Public sector union density growth largely due to women

  • Union density growth in Leisure and Hospitality

  • Union membership increased among Latino men

  • Largest growth, 1.8% among Asian American women

  • Union membership increased for Black women and men

  • Black men and women remain the groups with the highest union density


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