Union representation in the construction industry rose to 14.9 percent (967,000 workers) in 2013 from 13.7 percent (850,000 workers) in 2012, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports. Union membership in the industry also rose, from 13.2 percent (820,000 workers) in 2012 to 14.1 percent (915,000 workers) in 2013. Total employment in construction increased by a significantly larger margin during the year – rising over 4 percent, from 6.205 million workers to 6.474 million.
Also on the rise in 2013 were the median weekly earnings of full-time workers in the industry who were members of, or represented by, a union. For union members, the median increased from $1,086 to $1,096. For union-represented workers, it increased from $1,069 to $1,081. At the same time, the median weekly earnings of nonunion workers declined from $722 to $713, causing the median for all workers in the industry to decline from $768 to $762.
The construction industry continues to have one of the highest union representation rates among private industries reported by BLS, exceeded only by the utilities, transportation and warehousing, and telecommunications industries. Union representation across all private-sector industries was 7.5 percent in 2013, as compared to 7.3 percent in 2012.
Assessments of BLS industry data should consider that such data cover surveyed employees at all levels and classifications, including personnel that are not typically organized, such as office clerical workers, professional staff, and executives. The data also cover all sectors of the industry, including residential construction.
BLS further reports that the percentage of union-represented workers in construction and extraction occupations – whether employed in the construction industry or another industry – also increased in 2013, from 19.9 percent to 20.3 percent. The total number of workers employed in such occupations rose from 5,567 million to 5,809 million.
For the full report from BLS, click here. For additional breakdowns of BLS data on union representation, including industry data broken down by state, click here.