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The most and least unionized states

Stacker Logo By Ben Wittstein of Stacker | Slide 1 of 52: Since rising to prominence in the 18th century following the industrial revolution, labor unions have existed with the intent of protecting and advancing the rights of workers. Union membership reached its peak shortly after the midpoint of the 20th century, at which point a little less than a third of the nation’s workforce belonged to a union as a result of advanced collective bargaining efforts in the late-'50s and '60s. Membership has fallen drastically since Ronald Reagan’s ascent to office in 1980 brought with it a fierce assault on labor, which ultimately played a big role in shaping today’s comparatively minuscule 10.7% membership rate — 7% engagement in the private sector and 36% amongst government employees.While some critics argue that the presence of unions stifles competition and leaves employers beholden to unreasonable stipulations, others see unions as the only mechanism that can offer workers in more expendable positions the job security they deserve. Since the need for a union varies noticeably from industry to industry, and the prevalence of each respective industry is heavily dependant upon location, it's not surprising that the number of workers in unions fluctuate drastically state to state.In analyzing the states in which populations are the most heavily unionized, Stacker referenced a recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and ranked each state according to the percentage of their employed population who were members of labor unions in 2017. While the report includes metrics detailing the number of individuals in every state represented by unions, it is important to clarify that Stacker referenced the actual number of union members in every state for the purposes of this story. Read on to discover where each state stacks up in terms of union membership.Click here to see how Stacker ranks the most productive states in America.

The most and least unionized states

Since rising to prominence in the 18th century following the industrial revolution, labor unions have existed with the intent of protecting and advancing the rights of workers. Union membership reached its peak shortly after the midpoint of the 20th century, at which point a little less than a third of the nation’s workforce belonged to a union as a result of advanced collective bargaining efforts in the late-'50s and '60s. Membership has fallen drastically since Ronald Reagan’s ascent to office in 1980 brought with it a fierce assault on labor, which ultimately played a big role in shaping today’s comparatively minuscule 10.7% membership rate — 7% engagement in the private sector and 36% amongst government employees.

While some critics argue that the presence of unions stifles competition and leaves employers beholden to unreasonable stipulations, others see unions as the only mechanism that can offer workers in more expendable positions the job security they deserve. Since the need for a union varies noticeably from industry to industry, and the prevalence of each respective industry is heavily dependant upon location, it's not surprising that the number of workers in unions fluctuate drastically state to state.

In analyzing the states in which populations are the most heavily unionized, Stacker referenced a recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and ranked each state according to the percentage of their employed population who were members of labor unions in 2017. While the report includes metrics detailing the number of individuals in every state represented by unions, it is important to clarify that Stacker referenced the actual number of union members in every state for the purposes of this story. Read on to discover where each state stacks up in terms of union membership.

Click or swipe here to see how Stacker ranks the most productive states in America.

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