More Pennsylvanians are joining unions and establishing new ones according to a new report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2007 15.1% of Pennsylvania workers were unionized and in 2008 the number rose to 15.4% or 847,000 up from 830,000. The state's numbers reflect a national trend which saw membership jump by 428,000 to 16.1 million nationwide.
Jack Shea, president of the Allegheny County Labor Council says the numbers indicate that people are worried about their ability to make ends meet. He says workers are unionizing so that they have a voice where they work and can access greater job security and better health care and pension benefits. The report shows that government workers were nearly five times more likely to belong to a union than private sector employees and that workers in education, training and library jobs had the highest rate of unionization at 38.7%.