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The Changing Face of Labor Unions


The Workplace Prof Blog has picked up on a new report from The Center for Economic and Policy Research about demographic changes in the labor movement in the last 25 years.  According to the report: 

Women now make up over 45 percent of unionized workers, up from just 35 percent in 1983.

Latinos are the fastest growing ethnic group in the labor movement. In 2008, they represented 12.2 percent of the union workforce.  Asians made up 4.6 percent of the union workforce in 2008.

Black workers were about 13 percent of the total unionized workforce, a share that has held fairly steady since 1983.

Over one-third of union workers had at least a four-year college degree, compared with only one-in-five in 1983. Almost half of union women had at least a four-year college degree.

Only about one-in-ten unionized workers was in manufacturing, down from almost 30 percent in 1983.

Just under half of unionized workers were in the public sector, but about 61 percent of unionized women are in the public sector.

The typical union worker was 45 years old, or about 7 years older than in 1983. (The typical employee, regardless of union status, was 41 years old, also about 7 years older than in 1983.)

More educated workers were more likely to be unionized than less educated workers, a reversal from 25 years ago.

Immigrants made up 12.6 percent of union workers in 2008, up from 8.4 percent in 1994.

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