Building Better Communities

Communities Do Better When Unions Are Stronger

Studies show that states in which more people are union members are states with higher wages, better benefits and better schools. While unions are just one of the factors that affect the quality of living, the pattern indicates that when workers have a voice, everyone in the community benefits—not just union members.

Ten States with Strongest Unions

(based on percentage of the workforce with a union) are:

  • Hawaii
  • New York
  • Alaska
  • New Jersey
  • Washington State
  • Michigan
  • Illinois
  • Minnesota
  • California
  • Connecticut

Ten States with Weakest Unions

(based on percentage of the workforce with a union) are:

  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Virginia
  • Georgia
  • Texas
  • Arkansas
  • Florida
  • Utah
  • Mississippi
  • South Dakota

Ten States Where Unions Are Strongest  ----- Ten States Where Unions Are Weakest

Average Hourly Manufacturing Earnings, 2005 (1)
$17.01 -----$14.39

Median Household Income, 2005 (2)
$53,380  ----- $43,204

Percent of Population With No Medical Insurance, 2005 (3) -----
13.4% 17.5%

Workplace Fatalities Per 100,000 Employees, 2004 (4)
4.0 ----- 5.2

Public Education Spending Per Pupil, 2005-2006 (5)
$10,507----- $7,580

Percent of Eligible Voters Who Voted in Presidential Election, 2004 (6)
60.8% -----55.0%

Crimes Per 100,000 Population, 2004 (7)
3,715----- 4,168

Percent of Population in Poverty, 2005 (8)
10.4% -----13.4%


  1. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
  2. U.S. Census Bureau
  3. U.S. Census Bureau
  4. BLS, Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, 2004
  5. National Education Association, Rankings and Estimates—Rankings of the States 2005 and Estimates of School Statistics, 2006, November 2006.
  6. Fair Vote, the Center for Voting and Democracy. Committee for the Study of the American Electorate.
  7. Kathleen O’Leary Morgan and Scott Morgan, State Rankings 2006, Morgan Quitno Press, 2006.
  8. U.S. Census Bureau

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