Trains.com reported that the Bureau of Labor Statistics released a report showing that railroad jobs dropped by 3.8 percent in 2016 – reflecting the elimination of approximately 8,600 railroad jobs. In 2015, the drop in railroad jobs was reported at at sharper decline of 6.8 percent. Read the complete article here.
WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez issued the following statement on the department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics report released today on union membership in 2014:
“Today’s report confirms what we’ve always known: that belonging to a union makes a powerful difference in people’s lives, providing greater economic security and helping them punch their ticket to the middle class.
“The 2014 BLS data show that among wage and salary workers, those in a union have median weekly earnings of $970, compared to $763 for those not in a union. That’s not pocket change – it amounts to greater than $10,000 a year more for union members. There is also a smaller gender pay gap for unionized workers – women who are in a union come closer to parity with their male counterparts than do non-union women. The report also finds that the union membership rate was 11.1 percent last year, 35.7 percent for public-sector workers.
“The economy is resurgent, with an unemployment rate well below 6 percent and job growth we haven’t experienced since the late 1990’s. The challenge we face now is creating shared prosperity, ensuring that our growing economy works for everyone. To do that, we need to turn up the volume on worker voice.
“There is a direct link throughout American history between the strength of the middle class and the vitality of the labor movement. It’s not a coincidence. When unions are strong, working families thrive, with wages and productivity rising in tandem. But when the percentage of people represented by unions is low, there is downward pressure on wages and the middle class takes it on the chin.
“President Obama said in the State of the Union that middle-class economics requires ‘laws that strengthen rather than weaken unions, and give workers a voice.’ That means protecting and strengthening collective bargaining rights, and it also means exploring new organizing strategies and other innovative approaches to empowering workers in a modern economy.
“Across the country at the grass-roots level, workers and their advocates are doing just that. Whether it’s auto workers emulating the German works council model, or the dynamic movement of fast-food workers seeking a raise, or efforts by taxi drivers and home health care workers to stand up for their rights, we are seeing more people seeking creative ways to make their voices heard.
“Doing so can and must be done in collaboration with employers. We reject the old false choice and zero-sum thinking – the kind that suggests either workers or their employers can thrive, but not both. Unions succeed not at the expense of business, but in partnership with business. Forward-looking employers recognize that they can give their workers a voice while giving their bottom line a boost.
“To maintain robust economic growth, to create more shared prosperity and a better life for millions of middle-class families, we need full-throated worker voice.”
“Today we learned that, in 2013, approximately three million private sector workers in America experienced a serious injury or illness on the job. In this extraordinarily high number, it is easy to focus on the headline and miss the trend line. We are encouraged that the rates continue to decline over the past few years, even during this period of healthy economic growth when we would expect the rate of injuries to rise. The decrease in the injury rate is a product of tireless work by those employers, unions, worker advocates and occupational safety and health professionals all coupled with the efforts of federal and state government organizations that make worker safety and health a high priority each and every day.
“But we cannot ignore those three million workers. The severity of their injuries and illnesses varies widely; some are amputees, some suffer back injuries, while others have to struggle for each breath. Work injuries can instantly pull the rug out from a family striving for a good middle-class life. This is why the work of the Labor Department is so vital, and why the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, along with our partners in both the public and private sector, will maintain our commitment to ensuring that everyone can work in a safe, healthy place.”
Private sector and public sector union membership fell sharply in 2010, reports The New York Times.
In the domestic private workforce, the percentage of workers represented by unions tumbled to 6.9 percent (from 7.2 percent in 2009), while in the public sector, the percentage dropped to 36.2 percent (from 37.4 percent in 2009), reports the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Private sector union employment is at its lowest point in more than a century, says the BLS.
Total union membership — combined private and public sector — is now at its lowest point in 70 years, or 11.9 percent of the total work force (down from 12.3 percent in 2009), says the BLS.
The good news, reports The New York Times, is that the median weekly earnings for union members is now $917, or $200 more than the median weekly earnings for non-union members. The median separates the highest 50 percent from the lowest 50 percent, meaning half of union workers earn more than $917 weekly and half less than $917 weekly.
States with the highest unionization rate (public and private sectors) are Alaska, Hawaii and New York; the lowest rates being in Arkansas, Georgia and North Carolina, says the BLS.