WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez has issued the following statement regarding the department's Bureau of Labor Statistics report released today on union membership in 2013:
"Today the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that, in 2013, the unionization rate of employed wage and salary workers was 11.3 percent. Among private-sector employees, the rate was 6.7 percent.
"The data also show that among full-time wage and salary workers, union members have higher median weekly earnings than nonunion workers. The median weekly earnings of union members were $950, compared to $750 for nonunion workers.
"Along with higher wages, other data show that union members have greater access to employment-based benefits, such as health insurance, a retirement savings plan, and sick and vacation leave.
"Workers' ability to form unions and engage in collective bargaining has been a cornerstone of a strong middle class. The decline in union membership over the last few decades has contributed to more working families struggling to get by. When workers have a seat at the table, they are better able to bargain for their fair share of the value they helped create; and that leads to greater economic security and economic mobility for everyone. As our economy continues to recover and we work to create good jobs, we need to ensure workers can lift their voices to raise wages, reduce inequality and help more people climb ladders of opportunity."