New York City Union Rates Continue to Grow, Murphy Institute and GC Study Shows

September 4, 2015

New York City's union rate has grown more than 16 percent since 2012, and about one in four New York City residents are union members - a percentage that is double the national average, a new study by scholars at the Murphy Institute and the Graduate Center shows.

In the private sector, close to 18 percent of New York City residents are union members, nearly triple the national rate of six percent. Union rates among black city residents are particularly high: almost 40 percent of black workers in New York belong to a union, compared with 21 percent for white workers.

"Despite persistently high unemployment rates and disproportionate concentration in low-wage work, blacks have higher unionization rates than any other racial/ethnic group, nationally and in New York," said Distinguished Professor Ruth Milkman (Sociology).

The gains in New York come as union membership is declining in most parts of the United States. The study, The State of the Unions 2015: A Profile of Organized Labor in New York City, New York State and the United States, which was co-authored by Professor Stephanie Luce (GC/Murphy Institute, Sociology/Labor Studies), is in its sixth annual edition.