In a ruling on June 1, the U.S. Supreme Court made it easier for companies to sue unions representing their workers. The decision, which favored Washington state concrete company Glacier Northwest over International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local Union No. 174, was seen as a major setback to labor organizing in the United States.
While organizers have won some key victories in recent years, such as the formation of the Amazon Labor Union and dramatic rise in union filings by Starbucks workers last year, labor union activity has continued to fall. Union membership among U.S. workers has decreased from 20.1% in 1983 to 10.1% in 2022.
Just over 200 broad occupations employing tens of millions of people in the U.S. had less than 5% union membership in 2022. 24/7 Wall St. identified the 27 jobs with virtually zero union membership. We reviewed estimates of union membership, coverage, density, and employment by occupation from the union statistics database, Unionstats. We only considered occupations with employment of 10,000 or higher. Unionstats sample includes employed wage and salary workers, ages 16 and over.
Many of the occupations on this list, such as exercise trainers, small engine mechanics, and jewelers, often have a higher proportion of self-employed individuals. Self-employed workers typically have greater autonomy over their work and may not seek or have the same level of collective representation as salaried employees. (Here are the labor laws your boss doesn’t want you to know about.)
Similarly, certain industries, such as the fitness industry or the small engine repair sector, may have a higher prevalence of small businesses or independent contractors, which can make it more challenging for unions to organize and represent workers collectively. Relatedly, high levels of part-time employment may limit union participation. The union membership rate for full-time workers (11.0%) was double that for part-time workers (5.5 %) in 2022.
Occupations like dental and ophthalmic laboratory technicians, software quality assurance analysts, or actuaries often require specialized skills and knowledge. Workers in these occupations may have more bargaining power individually, potentially reducing the perceived need for union representation. (See, the 25 highest paying college majors.)
Click here to see the American jobs with zero union member last year.
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