SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — More men are union members than women in the U.S., according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Men reported a 10.6% union membership rate while women reported a 9.9% rate in 2021. That gap is far less than the gap was in 1983, when men reported 24.7% membership and women reported 14.6%.
In the U.S. in 2021, black workers had higher membership (11.5%) than white (10.3%), Asian (7.7%) or Hispanic (9%) workers, according to the BLS. Workers ages 45 to 54 had the highest union membership rate in 2021, at 13.1%, the BLS said.
In general, union workers get paid better than non-union workers, according to BLS and other data.
Union members who are full time or salary workers had a median weekly wage earnings of $1,169 in 2021. Non union members had a median weekly earnings of $975.
The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) found in 2020 that unionized workers earn on average of 11.2% more in wages than nonunionized peers when workers in the same industry and occupation with similar education and experience are compared.
A study released in June from the U.S. Joint Economic Committee said unionized workers earn 10.2% more than their non-union peers.
But union membership reached its historic 2019 low again in 2021. Membership decreased from 10.8% in 2020 to 10.1% in 2021.
The EPI study noted that union wages are higher than non-union wages, it also noted that in general, union wages can positively impact non-union wages and conditions. The EPI said unions effectively set broader standards—including higher wages and cited a 2016 study.
Studies and research from sources such as EPI, the American Sociological Association, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and from the Hamilton Project cited the decline of labor union membership as a reason for the decline or stagnation in worker wages since mid-to-late 1970s.
Workers who are not union members may be part of a field covered by a union. The BLS said 14 million workers are union members and 1.8 million non union members’ jobs are covered by a union contract.
In 2021 in South Dakota, 4% of the workforce was a union member while 5% were covered by a union contract, according to the state’s Department of Labor and Regulation.