Monday, February 22, 2010
The percentage of workers in Pennsylvania covered by a union contract dipped in 2009. The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 782,000 Pennsylvanians belonged to a union last year and that accounts for 15.0% of the workforce. That is down from 15.4 % in 2008. BLS Regional Commissioner Sheila Watkins says the number was nearly 21% in 1989 when the Bureau started to keep track and it slowly fell to a low of 13.6% in 2006. Watkins says while the percentage of union members has held stead the types of jobs they hold has changed. She says in recent years manufacturing and other heavy industry have continued to fall while service industry and education jobs that use union labor have increased. Pennsylvania’s union membership runs ahead of the national average of 12.3% but Watkins says the trends are the same.