News & Events

Latest AFL-CIO Membership Report Shows Union Membership Flat

Trends can be important.  Notwithstanding powerful political support for organized labor from the Obama Administration, the recent trend of American workers to not join unions is continuing.

Every two years, the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations, known as “AFL-CIO”, discloses the numbers of dues-paying members of its constituent national and international affiliates in the United States.  The table below contains the just-released data from 2012-13 and includes some interesting historical data (expressed in thousands).

 PERIOD  MEMBERSHIP  PERIOD  MEMBERSHIP
 1955  12,622  1980-81  13,602
 1956-57  13,020  1982-83  13,758
 1958-59  12,779  1984-85  13,109
 1960-61  12,553  1986-87  12,702
 1962-63  12,496  1988-89  13,556
 1964-65  12,919  1990-91  13,933
 1966-67  13,781  1992-93  13,299
 1968-69  13,005  1994-95  13,007
 1970-71  13,177  1996-97  12,905
 1972-73  13,407  1998-99  12,952
 1974-75  14,070  2000-01  13,164
 1976-77  13,542  2004-05  12,976
 1978-79  13,621  2008-09  8,374
 2012-13  8,429

Overall, union membership in the United States over the past two years was fairly flat.  The relatively small overall membership increase between 2012 and 2013 was due in part to the return of some unions that had disaffiliated from the AFL-CIO.  Several large unions suffered significant decreases in membership, notably the Communication Workers, the Electrical Workers and the UAW.  Significant membership increases were reported, however, for the American Federation of Government Employees and UNITE HERE.

If you have any questions relating to labor unions or other labor relations, please contact the author of this article or another member of Butler Snow’s Labor and Employment Group.