GC Professors Publish Report on New York's Rising Unionization Rates

September 2, 2014

GC Professors Publish Report on New York's Rising Unionization Rates

Professors Ruth Milkman and Stephanie Luce published the fifth annual study of unionization trends, The State of the Unions: A Profile of the 2013-2014 Union Membership in New York City, New York State and the USA. This year's report highlights a rebound in New York's unionization rates, reversing a seven-year downward trend.

Approximately twenty-four percent of city residents and twenty-five percent of state residents identify as union members-more than double the U.S. average of eleven percent, according to the study. The authors point to hiring surges in specific private-sector industries for the uptick.

"Amidst the relentless decline of unionism nationwide, we were surprised to see the recent growth in union density in New York City and State," said Milkman, professor of sociology at the Graduate Center and research director of CUNY's Joseph S. Murphy Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies. "This reflects post-recession employment growth in historically unionized industries like hotels, building services, and especially construction."

Based on national data, the report explores unionized labor variations by industry, gender, educational attainment, age, race and ethnicity, and immigration status. It is published by the Murphy Institute, along with the Center for Urban Research and the New York City Labor Market Information Service at the Graduate Center.

It is too early to tell whether this uptick in union density reflects a long-term trend, but the growth is a promising sign for New York's workers," according to Luce, professor of labor studies at the Murphy Institute. "The data show once again that union membership greatly improves workers' wages."