Union Shares by State – collective bargaining is inconsistent with the right to freedom of association


Union Shares by State
Table 1 shows the shares of union members in state and local workforces.7 These shares are strongly correlated with state rules regarding collective bargaining. The rules range from states that actively require collective bargaining, to states that allow it, to states that ban it, such as Virginia and North Carolina. In states that require collective bargaining, half or more of public workers are unionized. In states with no collective bargaining, public-sector union membership averages just 17 percent.8
State union shares are also correlated with “agency shop” rules. Agency shop rules require workers to either join the union or pay a fee to the union. Today, 28 states have agency shop rules, while 22 are “right-to-work” states where workers cannot be forced to join a union or pay union fees.9 Right-to-work states generally have much lower union shares in their workforces.10
Some of the most pro-union states also allow public-sector strikes and some have mandatory arbitration, which usually works in favor of the unions. Note that union rules can vary within states for different types of public-sector worker. For example, teachers are more likely to be allowed to strike than police or fire department workers.
Table 1. Union Shares of State and Local Government Employment
New York73%
Vermont45%
New Mexico18%
Rhode Island71%
Ohio44%
Utah17%
Hawaii67%
Montana43%
Tennessee17%
New Jersey66%
Maryland41%
North Dakota16%
Connecticut64%
Delaware40%
Kansas16%
Alaska61%
Nevada37%
Idaho15%
Massachusetts61%
Alabama32%
Texas14%
Washington59%
Iowa31%
Kentucky14%
Michigan58%
Nebraska28%
Wyoming14%
California58%
West Virginia27%
Louisiana13%
Oregon57%
Indiana27%
Virginia11%
Pennsylvania55%
Florida25%
Arkansas10%
Minnesota55%
Colorado24%
Georgia10%
Wisconsin52%
Arizona22%
South Carolina9%
Illinois50%
Missouri19%
Mississippi9%
New Hampshire48%
Oklahoma19%
North Carolina8%
Maine45%
South Dakota18%
Source: James Sherk based on Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

http://www.cato.org/pubs/tbb/tbb_61.pdf

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