According to an analysis by Bloomberg Law Daily Labor Report, the Teamsters Union lost almost 65,000 members in 2019, the largest decline in the union’s membership in 20 years. The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) added almost 45,000 members.
The analysis was based on a review of recently released annual LM-2 reports filed by unions with the U.S. Department of Labor. (The LM-2 reports contain detailed financial and other information about the union and can be accessed on the DOL’s website. For most unions, the deadline for filing the financial reports is March 30, but the DOL has said the deadline will be extended if a union has a reason related to COVID-19.)
Besides the SEIU, the Laborers International Union, and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) also added members; whereas the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, the United Steelworkers Union, and the American Federation of Government Employees lost members.
Union representation in the private sector in 2019 was at 6.2%, an all-time low.
Despite these statistics, it is important that employers not ignore the threat of successful union organizing. Union membership may have decreased, but unions are still winning most representation elections at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). In 2019, according to NLRB records, unions filed 995 representation petitions and won 745 elections, an enviable 75% winning percentage.