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Business Observer Thursday, Jun. 11, 2020 3 weeks ago

Report correlates union membership with business climate

Florida hasn't warmed to unions the way Hawaii has.

Hawaii and South Carolina are 4,600 miles apart by plane and are also in different worlds in another way: percentages of union members as part of the overall workforce.

Hawaii, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, leads the nation with a 23.5% union membership rate in 2019. On the other side is South Carolina, at 2.2%. Florida ranks No. 37 on the list, with 551,000 labor union members in 2019, a 6.2% rate. That’s up from 484,000 and 5.6% in 2018, the report shows. (The list has 51 spots, including Washington, D.C.)

The percentage of unionized public-sector workers is five times greater than private-sector workers, the study shows, according to a report in the Center Square, a Florida news service. The study also found unionization rates were highest in protective security services, schooling, training and library jobs. And on average, union members make $1,095 per week, compared to $892 for nonunion workers.

A look at where states fall on the ranking also correlates, to a large extent, with business climate. On one end, states under 5% of union membership, a list that includes Texas, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina, often score high on business climate surveys. On the other side, New York, California and New Jersey, high-tax states that tend to pop up often on unfriendly business climate reports, all have union membership rates over 15%.

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