Union membership grows in California
Union membership in California (a labout market roughly half the size of the UK) has risen by over 100,000 in the last year. This is recession-busting stuff, given that unemployment in the state hit 11.9% in July.
In fact, California unions gained 131,206 new members from July 2008 to June 2009 (up from 2.7 million according to the US Bureau of Labour Statistics – a climb of 5%). The proportion of Californian workers belonging to unions has also risen, according to a study by UCLA’s Institute for Research on Labor and Employment. In fact over the last two years, union density in California has increased by an eighth, from 16.1% to 18.3%.
Interestingly, California has a public sector density rate now of 57.4% -basically the same as in the UK, and way ahead of the US average of 37%. But private sector unionisation is only 10.6% compared with 7.5% across the USA (and 16.6% in the UK – using UK government statistics for 2006 which is all I have to hand – it hasn’t changed dramatically since then).
Source: Union membership climbs in California, by Carolyn Jones, San Francisco Chronicle, 7 September – hat tip to John Logan, UC Berkeley for alerting me.