Membership in labor unions is finally starting to grow again in the U.S. after a long period of decline. Whereas unions were once a major force in U.S. politics and the economy, in recent years they have grown weaker. In 2020, the percentage of U.S. workers in unions was only 10.8 percent, down from 20.1 percent in 1983. The greatest loss has been in the private sector—union membership in the private sector has fallen to 6.3 percent, one fifth that of public sector workers, at 34.8 percent.
But now unionized activity is on the upswing. Between October 2021 and March 2022, union representation petitions filed at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) increased 57 percent from the same period a year ago. Unfair labor practice charges increased 14 percent during the same period.
A big factor in the growth on union activity has been President Biden’s support. Early in his term, Biden revamped the NLRB, firing former President Donald Trump’s NLRB general counsel Peter Robb shortly after taking office. Biden then installed the new general counsel Jennifer Abruzzo, a former union attorney, who has been using her enforcement powers widely.
I was unable to find reliable figures on recent union growth, but the press reports unionization of workforces at a variety of leading companies including Apple, Amazon, Starbucks, and Verizon. It looks like the time for the working man to prosper is at hand.