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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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News Release

OPA News Release: [01/21/2011]
Contact Name: David Roberts
Phone Number: (202) 693-5945
Release Number: 11-0096-NAT

Statement by Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis on Bureau of Labor Statistics report on union members in 2010

WASHINGTON — Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis issued the following statement regarding the Bureau of Labor Statistics' annual "Union Members — 2010" report released today:

"Today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that, in 2010, the unionization rate of employed wage and salary workers was 11.9 percent, down from 12.3 percent in 2009. Among private sector employees, the rate dropped to 6.9 percent from 7.2 percent in 2009.

"The data also show the median usual weekly earnings of full-time wage and salary union members were $917 per week, compared to $717 for workers not represented by unions. For Latinos, the wage disparity is even greater with union members earning an average of $771 compared to $512 for workers not represented by unions, a difference of 33.6 percent.

"When coupled with existing data showing that union members have access to better health care, retirement and leave benefits, today's numbers make it clear that union jobs are not only good jobs, they are central to restoring our middle class.

"As workers across the country continue to face lower wages and difficulty finding work due to the recent recession, these numbers demonstrate the pressing need to provide workers with a voice in the workplace and protect their right to organize and bargain collectively."