U.S. union density rises as non-union jobs are lost to the pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the deep need for unions in the U.S. Thankfully, union density has increased, perhaps sparking a change.

PAI Union News Editor Mark Gruenberg discussed the spike in union density and its causes and what the future of workers looks like in the U.S. on America’s Work Force Union Podcast.

U.S. union density

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, union density has increased. While this is a good thing, it means that some Americans lost their jobs. The increase in density was caused by a greater loss of non-union jobs compared to union jobs.

Gruenberg said current union membership in both the public and private sectors sits at 14.25 million members. This represents a 0.5 percent increase from the beginning of the pandemic.

He added that the northeast and pacific states are doing a much better job with retaining density and adding union members, while the southern and mountain states still lag behind in encouraging union membership.

Future of workers

President Biden will have quite a bit of work to do in terms of reversing some executive orders that hurt American workers and give an unfair advantage to employers and the most wealthy Americans.

Gruenberg said the future of American workers is good, despite the amount of people out of work.

Lastly, President Biden will need to be pushed by workers. While President Obama was friendly to workers, he caved on a lot of signature promises to the labor community. With an applied pressure from the labor community, President Biden will have no choice but to advance a labor-friendly agenda.


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