Press Release Unions Workers

Mixed Union Membership Report Shows Need for Sustained Labor Movement Effort, Pro-Worker Legislation, CEPR Expert Says

January 19, 2023

Contact: Dan Beeton, 202-239-1460Mail_Outline

Washington DC — In response to the mixed update on union membership reported today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), CEPR’s Research Associate Hayley Brown responds with these comments:

“While the union membership rate — the percentage of wage and salary workers who are union members — dropped between 2021 and 2022, the upside is that the number of union members increased.

“And there are encouraging signs for the labor movement in other data — we see high union approval ratings and increased filings for union elections — but legal and ideological barriers to unionization mean that rebuilding the labor movement in the US will require sustained and aggressive action.

“Organized labor must capitalize on enthusiasm among younger workers, including those ages 25 to 34. This is the only age group whose union membership share increased between 2019 and 2022.

“For a useful comparative perspective on union membership trends in the US, look at Canada. Canadian workers are nearly three times as likely to be union members as US workers, and Canadian union membership has been relatively stable over the last several decades.

“Pro-worker policy reforms are desperately needed in the US to aid workers who are organizing under, and bargaining with, hostile employers.”

CEPR’s Hayley Brown is available for press comment.

The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) will release a detailed analysis of the 2022 union membership data in a forthcoming report.

Support Cepr

If you value CEPR's work, support us by making a financial contribution.