The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Friday, February 16, 2001

Number of union construction workers takes a dip in 2000

By The Building Tradesman

Reflecting the overall trend in organized labor, the percentage of construction workers represented by unions declined in 2000 to 19.0 percent, down from 19.6 percent in 1999.

Construction union membership in the U.S. actually increased from 1999 to 2000 - up 33,000 to 1.22 million, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. But, employment in the industry rose nearly 7 percent, from 6.2 million in 1999 to a record 6.6 million in 2000, and the number of nonunion construction workers grew at a greater rate.

The BLS data showed that union pay rates in construction were significantly higher - 54 percent higher - than those of nonunion workers. That compares to 1999, when nonunion construction workers earned an average of 35 percent less than union workers.

Construction workers who were members of unions in 1999 had median weekly earnings of $814 in 2000, the highest of any industry, compared to $529 for nonunion workers. Pay for union members increased by 4.6 percent from 1999-2000.