Labor-union membership in Illinois and surrounding states
Illinois has the second-highest labor-union participation rate among neighboring states.
Today, 15 percent of Illinois’ wage and salary workers are union members while 16 percent are covered by a union. These are the second-highest rates among neighboring states. But too little is known about the composition of the labor-union community itself.
The Illinois Policy Institute commissioned a custom data search from Bloomberg BNA to shed light on the makeup of the labor community using data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey.
Michigan has the highest labor-union participation rate among Illinois’ neighbors. Sixteen percent of wage and salary workers are union members and almost 17 percent are covered by a union. Missouri has the lowest labor-union participation rate at just under 9 percent, while 10 percent of their wage and salary workers are covered by a union.
Illinois has the highest total number of union members among the neighboring states at almost 827,000. Michigan, which has a higher union participation rate than Illinois, comes in a distant second with almost 615,000 union members. Iowa has the lowest number of union workers at almost 148,000.
While roughly 15 percent of Illinois’ wage and salary workers are union members, there is a vast difference between private- and public-sector union membership participation. Ten percent of private-sector workers are members of and covered by a union in Illinois.
One state, Michigan, has a higher private-sector union membership rate than Illinois. In Michigan, private-sector union membership is 11 percent. The lowest rate can be found in Iowa, at lower than 7 percent. The percent of private-sector workers covered by a union ranges from a high of almost 12 percent in Michigan to a low of 7 percent in Iowa.
Weekly earnings among private-sector union members are highest in Illinois at $1,001 per week. Michigan and Missouri are second highest at $853 per week, while Kentucky comes in last at $733.
Among Illinois’ government workers, 52 percent of workers are members of a union and 54 percent are covered by one. Michigan’s public-sector union participation and coverage rates are nearly identical.
Wisconsin has the second highest rate of public-sector union participation and coverage at 40 and 43 percent, respectively. The lowest rates of union participation (19 percent) and coverage (24 percent) are found in Missouri.
Private-sector union weekly earnings are highest in Illinois at $1,030 per week. Michigan is the next highest at $943 per week and Kentucky holds the low at $827.