Alaska union membership drops to all-time low

This chart shows the decline in Alaska’s union membership over the past decade. (Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Alaska has fewer unionized workers than at any point since statehood, according to new figures from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.


On Wednesday, BLS released the results of an annual survey that found only 18.5 percent of Alaska’s workers were members of a labor union in 2016. That’s the lowest proportion ever recorded by BLS in Alaska, but it’s the third-highest proportion nationwide.

New York, the No. 1 state, reported 23.6 percent of its workers were union members. Hawaii, the No. 2 state, reported 19.9 percent of its workers were members.

Nationwide, the average is 10.4 percent.

In Alaska, the proportion of union membership is boosted by a significant number of unionized public employees. Some states bar public employees from joining unions.

Union membership in Alaska (and the rest of the U.S.) has been declining for the past 50 years. In 1968, 41.8 of Alaska workers were in a union. That tied (with Washington state) for the highest rate in the nation. That figure dropped below 30 percent in 1980, and below 20 percent in 2015.



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