Employment was at its best in the United States before the Great Recession struck the American economy. Things have got back on track to a certain extent. However, the struggles remain the same. The union jobs aren’t up to the mark, and that’s where the problem lies. Back in 1983, the number of union workers was 17.7 million. That came to almost 20.1% of the entire workforce.
One hundred seventy-seven million came down to 14..7 million by 2018. If you expect the future to be promising, you might be disappointed to know that things are not looking that bright. Very few from the millennial generation are choosing union jobs. There are a lot of factors that are forcing young people to choose nonunion jobs. Here is a list of the most unionized industries in the USA.
Public Service Workers
The AFSCME, or the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees are the largest union for public service employees in the United States. The union has over 1.6 million retired and active employees such as nurses, sanitation workers, correction officers, child care workers, EMTs, etc.
The second-largest public service union in the United States is the SEIU or the Services Employees International Union. Its foundation dates back to the year 1932. After the Great Depression took a toll on the country’s economy, hoping to improve and spread the civil service system across the country. Over 1.1 million people are part of the SEIU. Around 50% are childcare providers, public school employees, state and local government workers, and bus drivers.
The formation of The Steel Workers Organizing Committee dates back to June 1936. It became official by signing a contract with Carnegie-Illinois Steel a year later. That guaranteed the workers a daily wage of $5.
The Steel Workers Organizing Committee changed its name to United Steelworkers in 1942. The United Steelworkers constitute 1.2 million members, including steel and aluminum workers, pulp papers and forestry workers, rubber, oil, chemical plant workers, and so forth. The members of the union come from the United States, the Caribbean, and Canada.
The NEA, or the National Education Association, with over 3 million members, is the biggest union in the United States. NEA includes are public school teachers, higher education faculty members, administrators, substitute educators, education support workers, retired teachers, and students working to take up teaching as a profession.
At the time of its formation in 1857, NEA had just 100 members. It merged with the American Teachers Association in 1966. The AFT, or the American Federation of Teachers, was founded in 1916 by eight teachers from Chicago. The number of members with the AFT grew to 174 members in the first year itself.
The union came out in support of the tenure laws for the benefit of the teachers between World War I and World War II. It also had a major role to play in the civil rights movement in the year 1954. Currently, the number of members in the AFT is over 1.7 million. That makes it one of the largest unions in the United States.
What comes to your mind first when you think of unions? It’s the UAW or the United Auto Workers. You might not know it’s not the auto workers that the UAW serves. Employees from agriculture, healthcare, aerospace, and other industries. The UAW is also famous by many other names such as United Automobile, The International Union, Aerospace, and Agricultural Implement Workers of America.
Today, UAW boasts 400,000 working members as well as 580,000 retired members. The union has played a major role in establishing the first employer-sponsored health policy for people working in different industries. Aside from that, it has also made sure that the union members receive cost-of-living allowances, job and income security provisions, and various other deals.
The number of members in unions is gradually decreasing over the past decades. And the main factors influencing this are the high dues and low pension funds. Besides that, the younger employees are rethinking where they should start their careers.
Should you join a union? It depends on which industry you are in and the kind of job you do. In a COVID-hit world, where people increasingly choose work-from-home jobs over traditional ones, unions are also gradually transforming. However, if you are a gig worker, you may not want to join a union.