Union representation in the construction industry (covering all occupations) declined in 2018, from 14.7 percent to 13.8 percent, according to an annual report recently issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (“BLS”). Union membership in the industry also declined, from 14 percent to only 12.8 percent, but remains considerably higher than the 6.4 percent all-industry average in the private sector. Construction union representation and membership increased slightly in both 2017 and 2016. The total number of workers in construction rose in each year. In 2018, the number rose from 7,844,000 to 8,169,000.
Among workers in construction and extraction occupations, whether employed in the construction industry or another industry, union representation in 2018 declined from 20.2 percent to 18.0 percent, and membership declined from 19.3 percent to 17.1 percent. The total number of workers in such occupations increased from 6,529,000 to 6,776,000.
The report also covers earnings. According to BLS, the median weekly earnings of all employees in the construction industry rose from $840 to $868 in 2018. Union-represented workers continued to earn substantially more than their nonunion counterparts, with median weekly earnings increasing from $1,155 to $1,210 in 2018 as compared to an increase from $797 to $819 for nonunion workers.
Assessments of BLS industry data should consider that such data cover surveyed employees at all levels and classifications, including personnel that are not typically organized, such as office staff. The data also cover all sectors of the industry, including employees of home builders and home improvement firms.
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