Connecticut has the fourth highest rate of unionized workers in the country, flying in the face of a decrease of union members nationwide by adding enough to raise its overall percentage from 17.2 percent of the overall working population in 2015 to 17.5 percent last year.
According to new data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Nutmeg State ranked below only New York (25.2 percent), Hawaii (20.9 percent) and Alaska (19.9 percent) in 2016.
The national union membership rate, meanwhile, was 10.7 percent in 2016, down 0.4 percent from 2015, as the number of wage and salary workers belonging to unions declined by 240,000 from 2015 to total 14.6 million in 2016. In 1983, the first year for which comparable union data is available, the union membership rate was 20.1 percent, with 17.7 million union workers.
On a national basis, in 2016 public-sector workers had a union membership rate (34.4 percent) more than five times higher than that of private-sector workers (6.4 percent). Workers in education, training, and library occupations and in protective service occupations had the highest unionization rates (34.6 percent and 34.5 percent, respectively). In addition, men continued to have a slightly higher union membership rate (11.2 percent) than women (10.2 percent).
Median weekly earnings of nonunion workers ($802) were 80 percent of earnings for workers who were union members ($1,004).
South Carolina continued to have the lowest union membership, at 1.6 percent.