The U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 26 heard arguments in the case Janus v. AFSCME. The court will decide whether to prohibit public sector unions from collecting dues for service from non-union employees the union represents.
The eventual ruling could radically reduce the power of collective bargaining in the United States, where the power of unions has steadily eroded for decades. Just over 10% of U.S. workers (about 14.8 million) are union members. As it stands, union membership today is about half what it was in 1983 — the first year data became available.
In light of the Supreme Court case and in honor of Employee Appreciation day on March 2, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the 19 jobs where more than 50% of workers are union members using data compiled by unionstats.com. The database catalogues data from the Current Population Survey (CPS).
To anyone familiar with organized labor, the list of jobs dominated by unions will likely not come as a surprise. Protective service occupations like firefighting, education jobs like high school teachers, and manual labor-intensive jobs such as millwrights, electricians, and railroad workers continue to have the highest unionization rates.
Unions have always helped improve wages and benefits for workers. Despite the decades-long steady erosion of union power, non-union workers continue to earn just 80% what union members earn on average.