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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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News Release

OPA News Release: [01/22/2010]
Contact Name: Jaime Zapata
Phone Number: (202) 693-4667
Release Number: 10-0105-NAT

Statement by Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis on Bureau of Labor Statistics report on Union Members in 2009

WASHINGTON — Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis issued the following statement regarding the Bureau of Labor Statistics report released today on Union Members in 2009:

"Today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that, in 2009, the unionization rate of employed wage and salary workers was 12.3 percent, in essence unchanged from the 12.4 percent rate in 2008. Among private sector employees, the rate dropped to 7.2 percent from 7.6 percent in 2008.

"The data also show the median usual weekly earnings of full-time wage and salary union members were $908 per week, compared to $710 for workers not represented by unions. Union members earn 28 percent more than their non-union counterparts.

"When coupled with data showing that union members have access to better health care, retirement and leave benefits, these numbers make it clear that union jobs are good jobs.

"As workers across the country have seen their real and nominal wages decline as a result of the recession, these numbers show a need for Congress to pass legislation to level the playing field to enable more American workers to access the benefits of union membership. This report makes clear why the administration supports the Employee Free Choice Act."