Friday, February 5, 2010

Changing face of union membership in US

The latest figures released by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals that despite there being five times more wage and salary workers in the private sector than government sector, workers in the later have surpassed the former in total union membership.



Though local government workers - public school teachers, police officers and firefighters - make up a relatively small share of the nation’s total employment, they have the highest unionization rate of all industries, with 43.3% of all workers being unionized. In contrast, the unionization rate across the public sector was 37.4% and for the private sector it was 7.2%. Among the industries with the lowest unionization rates in 2009 were agriculture and related industries (a rate of 1.1%) and financial activities (1.8%). Private sector industries with high unionization rates included transportation and utilities (22.2%) and construction (14.5%).



Much the same could be said about unionization in public sector in India, though the extent of unionization could be much higher. Teachers, doctors, transport, electricity, and municipal staff form the largest, most vocal and influential of unions.

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