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

Report correlates union membership with business climate

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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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