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States with the largest unionized workforces

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Stacker analyzed BLS data for 2021 (released in January 2022) and ranked each state according to its percentage of wage and salary workers who were members of labor unions.
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States with the largest unionized workforces

Unions spent the first half of the 20th century transforming a massive industrial peasantry into the American middle class. In the second half of the 20th century, big business fought back by pressing for so-called “right-to-work” laws, which dilute the influence of labor unions and their power of collective bargaining.

The right-to-work campaign has been an unmitigated success for big business. Union memberships plummet wherever these laws exist, weakening the primary check on corporate excess. The results are clear: The dramatic decline in union membership that began in the early 1960s directly coincided with a meteoric rise in the share of income going to the top 10%.

To determine which states are the most unionized, Stacker looked at BLS data for 2021 (released in January 2022) and ranked each state according to its percentage of wage and salary workers who were members of labor unions.

Not surprisingly, the issue is politically polarized. Republicans overwhelmingly back right-to-work laws, and Democrats overwhelmingly side with their historic allies in labor. In fact, a red/blue map of the right-to-work states versus pro-union states looks nearly identical to that of the Electoral College.

Today, 27 states enforce right-to-work laws. These free-rider statutes extend the gains of union-won collective bargaining agreements to non-union workers who didn’t join or pay dues themselves. Predictably and as intended, many workers simply opt to piggyback instead of pitching in, which causes union membership and the influence of organized labor to dwindle. Big business prefers divided labor over organized labor for a reason. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median weekly wage for union members in the United States is $1,169 vs. $975 for nonunion workers.

In 2021, union membership stood at about 10.3% of the U.S. workforce. That’s a little more than half of the 20.1% that existed when BLS began tracking it in 1983. Three decades before that, in 1953, more than one in three private-sector workers were union members. Today, that number has dwindled to just 6.1%. Right-to-work legislation is decided at the state level, so the country’s remaining union members are not spread out evenly.

Keep reading to see which states are the most unionized.

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Khanrak // Wikimedia Commons

#51. South Carolina

– Members of unions: 34,000 (1.7% of employed population)
— Down 25,000 from 2020 (-1.2 percentage points)
– Workers represented by unions: 42,000 (2% of employed population)
— Down 35,000 from 2020 (-1.8 percentage points)

No stranger to the bottom of the list, South Carolina once again takes the title of America’s least unionized state. The state’s workforce is growing quickly, while union membership has declined.

James Willamor // Flickr

#50. North Carolina

– Members of unions: 108,000 (2.6% of employed population)
— Down 21,000 from 2020 (-0.5 percentage points)
– Workers represented by unions: 142,000 (3.4% of employed population)
— Down 19,000 from 2020 (-0.5 percentage points)

In the years when South Carolina isn’t the least-unionized state, its neighbor to the north often is. North Carolina became a right-to-work state in 1947, making it one of the early adopters of the movement. The right-to-work agenda emerged in the South after World War II, as integrated labor unions began threatening both the economic power structure and the racial power structure in the region.

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#49. Utah

– Members of unions: 51,000 (3.5% of employed population)
— No change from 2020 (-0.2 percentage points)
– Workers represented by unions: 96,000 (6.5% of employed population)
— Up 21,000 from 2020 (+1.1 percentage points)

In 1955, Utah became the 18th state to join the right-to-work coalition—one of the first states to do so outside of the South. This dynamic, according to the Utah History Encyclopedia, is directly connected to organized labor’s long history of conflict with the Mormon church.

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#48. Texas

– Members of unions: 454,000 (3.8% of employed population)
— Down 109,000 from 2020 (-1.1 percentage points)
– Workers represented by unions: 571,000 (4.7% of employed population)
— Down 122,000 from 2020 (-1.3 percentage points)

The term “right to work” was coined by anti-labor oil industry chiefs in Houston in 1936, and no state has been more central to the movement. After World War II, Houston businessman and vocal white supremacist Vance Muse founded the Christian American Association. Through the organization, he leveraged contemporary fears to successfully link unions with both integration and communism in the public imagination, while crafting the first right-to-work laws in Texas.

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#47. Arkansas

– Members of unions: 46,000 (3.9% of employed population)
— Down 9,000 from 2020 (-0.8 percentage points)
– Workers represented by unions: 51,000 (4.4% of employed population)
— Down 18,000 from 2020 (-1.5 percentage points)

In 2018, a local CBS affiliate reported that union membership was on the rise in Arkansas, despite the state ranking above only 12 other states in terms of current unionization. Now, four years after the supposed boost, Arkansas has dropped even further—behind all but four other states.

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#46. South Dakota

– Members of unions: 16,000 (4% of employed population)
— Down 1,000 from 2020 (-0.3 percentage points)
– Workers represented by unions: 20,000 (5% of employed population)
— Down 1,000 from 2020 (-0.5 percentage points)

Back in 2003, the Rapid City Journal ran an article under the headline “Unions Waning in South Dakota.” There were just 19,000 union members left in the state by 2002, down from 21,000 in 1997. Overall membership has continued to decline.

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#44. Idaho

– Members of unions: 36,000 (4.7% of employed population)
— Down 5,000 from 2020 (-0.9 percentage points)
– Workers represented by unions: 42,000 (5.5% of employed population)
— Down 5,000 from 2020 (-0.9 percentage points)

Idaho’s union history can be traced back to the first half of the 20th century, to conflicts between laborers and corporate bosses in the booming timber industry. Today, Idaho is one of the 10 least unionized states in the country and part of a confederation of right-to-work states that spreads across the conservative Mountain West.

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#44. Louisiana

– Members of unions: 81,000 (4.7% of employed population)
— Down 18,000 from 2020 (-1.2 percentage points)
– Workers represented by unions: 98,000 (5.7% of employed population)
— Down 15,000 from 2020 (-1.0 percentage point)

In 1954, a scathing report by a man named William J. Dodd called the adoption of right-to-work laws in Louisiana “without question the most controversial legislative problem considered during the 1954 legislative session.” Although the law’s authors insisted their motives were based in liberating Louisiana workers, Dodd pointed out that the proposed law restricted the use of some of organized labor’s most important tools, like picketing or recruitment. The law was eventually adopted in 1976.

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#42. Georgia

– Members of unions: 211,000 (4.8% of employed population)
— Up 17,000 from 2020 (+0.2 percentage points)
– Workers represented by unions: 256,000 (5.8% of employed population)
— Down 15,000 from 2020 (-0.7 percentage points)

In 2016, labor leaders in Georgia cheered as a judge overruled a state law designed to dilute the influence of unions there even further. Despite that narrow victory, Georgia remains committed to protecting its well-earned image as a pro-business state, a status often won at the expense of its workers.

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#42. Virginia

– Members of unions: 176,000 (4.8% of employed population)
— Up 12,000 from 2020 (+0.4 percentage points)
– Workers represented by unions: 240,000 (6.5% of employed population)
— Up 39,000 from 2020 (+1.1 percentage points)

Although the 2020 election saw Democrats flip Virginia, the state is still part of the South, where the modern anti-labor movement was born. Despite the change in leadership, Virginia’s right-to-work laws have thus far proven too deeply entrenched for progressives in the state to uproot.

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#40. Florida

– Members of unions: 448,000 (5.2% of employed population)
— Down 76,000 from 2020 (-1.2 percentage points)
– Workers represented by unions: 529,000 (6.1% of employed population)
— Down 115,000 from 2020 (-1.8 percentage points)

When Florida was called for President Trump in the 2020 election, it became clear that Democrats would not get the election night knockout punch they had hoped for. Their allies in labor, however, won a major victory in the Sunshine State that day. More than 60% of voters passed a ballot measure that will raise the state minimum wage from $8.56 to $15 an hour by 2026, giving 2.5 million low-wage Florida workers a raise.

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#40. Tennessee

– Members of unions: 145,000 (5.2% of employed population)
— Up 28,000 from 2020 (+0.8 percentage points)
– Workers represented by unions: 166,000 (5.9% of employed population)
— Up 29,000 from 2020 (+0.8 percentage points)

Tennessee is part of America’s right-to-work stronghold in the South, where union membership has dwindled to about 5% of the workforce. In 2020, state leadership proposed an amendment enshrining right-to-work language in the Tennessee constitution.

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#38. Arizona

– Members of unions: 167,000 (5.4% of employed population)
— Up 12,000 from 2020 (+0.1 percentage points)
– Workers represented by unions: 208,000 (6.7% of employed population)
— Up 1,000 from 2020 (-0.4 percentage points)

Arizona’s union history revolves around the mining industry, in a relationship that was often volatile and frequently violent, with race, immigration, and the inherent unpredictability of the metals industry fanning the flames. Unions have faced an uphill battle in the state since the first right-to-work laws were enacted in 1947.

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#38. North Dakota

– Members of unions: 19,000 (5.4% of employed population)
— Down 2,000 from 2020 (-0.8 percentage points)
– Workers represented by unions: 24,000 (6.9% of employed population)
— Down 1,000 from 2020 (-0.5 percentage points)

In 2020, The New Yorker investigated an interesting labor situation in North Dakota. Tensions were rising between Democratic Party opponents of the controversial Dakota Access pipeline and the labor unions that represented the workers. The infighting waned when the two groups seemed to find common ground, as large numbers of oil workers shifted to clean-energy jobs operating wind turbines—while oil industry employment stagnated.

Ken L. // Wikimedia Commons

#37. Mississippi

– Members of unions: 59,000 (5.5% of employed population)
— Down 15,000 from 2020 (-1.6 percentage points)
– Workers represented by unions: 74,000 (6.9% of employed population)
— Down 12,000 from 2020 (-1.4 percentage points)

In the tumultuous 1950s and ’60s, union membership plummeted in Mississippi and much of the South as labor leaders allied with civil rights organizations. Union membership remains down in Mississippi as the state is still dominated by pro-business conservatives hostile toward the labor movement and suspicious of unions.

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Oklahoma CIty Convention and Visitor’s Bureau // Wikimedia Commons

#36. Oklahoma

– Members of unions: 87,000 (5.6% of employed population)
— Down 3,000 from 2020 (-0.4 percentage points)
– Workers represented by unions: 105,000 (6.8% of employed population)
— Down 9,000 from 2020 (-0.8 percentage points)

Union culture in Oklahoma began when the state was still a territory, through labor uprisings in the mining industry. The arrival of the railroad brought a new breed of union to Oklahoma, followed by the rise of agricultural unions in the state, and finally the appearance of trade unions.

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#35. Wyoming

– Members of unions: 13,000 (5.7% of employed population)
— Down 5,000 from 2020 (-1.9 percentage points)
– Workers represented by unions: 16,000 (6.9% of employed population)
— Down 6,000 from 2020 (-2.4 percentage points)

Wyoming serves as the bridge between two solid blocks of right-to-work states—one in the Midwest and the other in the Mountain West. To Wyoming’s east are solid-red North Dakota down through Texas and to the west are Idaho, Utah, Nevada, and Arizona.

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#34. Alabama

– Members of unions: 115,000 (5.9% of employed population)
— Down 36,000 from 2020 (-2.1 percentage points)
– Workers represented by unions: 133,000 (6.9% of employed population)
— Down 31,000 from 2020 (-1.8 percentage points)

Although the number of union members found among Alabama’s employed population is still below the national average, it’s significantly higher than its neighbors in the Deep South, the heart of America’s right-to-work culture.

Schlendiran // Wikimedia Commons

#32. Colorado

– Members of unions: 165,000 (6.5% of employed population)
— Down 17,000 from 2020 (-0.9 percentage points)
– Workers represented by unions: 192,000 (7.5% of employed population)
— Down 10,000 from 2020 (-0.7 percentage points)

In 2018, something happened in Colorado that’s a rarity in the modern era—union membership increased from 9.6% to 11%. The success was short-lived, however, and the state is now all the way down to 6.5%, its lowest union membership level since 2015.

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#32. Iowa

– Members of unions: 93,000 (6.5% of employed population)
— No change from 2020 (-0.1 percentage points)
– Workers represented by unions: 118,000 (8.3% of employed population)
— Down 10,000 from 2020 (-0.8 percentage points)

As the 2020 presidential election grabbed all the headlines, thousands of public employees in Iowa turned out to vote in union recertification elections that determine whether or not they’ll retain their collective bargaining power. In 2017, Iowa’s conservative leaders succeeded in creating the recertification requirements to weaken unions further in the right-to-work state, but Democratic lawmakers have fought back.

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#31. Nebraska

– Members of unions: 61,000 (6.8% of employed population)
— Down 24,000 from 2020 (-2.8 percentage points)
– Workers represented by unions: 72,000 (8% of employed population)
— Down 22,000 from 2020 (-2.5 percentage points)

At the turn of the 20th century, bakers in Omaha went on strike to protest $10 weekly wages for 10-17 hour workdays in sweltering hot, subterranean oven facilities that were commonly worked by children. However, anti-union legislation enacted in the 1940s established Nebraska as one of the oldest right-to-work states in America and part of the anti-union stronghold in middle America that runs from the Dakotas down through Texas.

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#30. Kentucky

– Members of unions: 126,000 (7.2% of employed population)
— Down 1,000 from 2020 (-0.3 percentage points)
– Workers represented by unions: 170,000 (9.8% of employed population)
— Up 10,000 from 2020 (+0.4 percentage points)

Few states have a labor history as dramatic, bloody, and consequential as the coal wars that consumed Kentucky throughout the late 1800s and early 20th century—particularly the Harlan County War of the 1930s. In recent years, Kentucky has never been able to compete with Ohio and West Virginia in terms of the percentage of its miners who were union members. Membership plummeted from an already low 35% of miners in 1997 to 17% in 2017.

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#29. New Mexico

– Members of unions: 58,000 (7.5% of employed population)
— Up 5,000 from 2020 (+0.4 percentage points)
– Workers represented by unions: 70,000 (9.1% of employed population)
— Up 6,000 from 2020 (+0.5 percentage points)

New Mexico—which is not a right-to-work state—includes an employed population with more than 7% union membership. That number was up over 8% as recently as 2017, but even that represents a decline from pre-recession membership.

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#28. Wisconsin

– Members of unions: 215,000 (7.9% of employed population)
— Down 12,000 from 2020 (-0.8 percentage points)
– Workers represented by unions: 251,000 (9.3% of employed population)
— Down 13,000 from 2020 (-0.9 percentage points)

Despite its long history as a labor stronghold for American agriculture and industry, Wisconsin is now a right-to-work state with membership numbers that lag well below the national average. The state’s membership percentages have also declined much more rapidly than they have in the country as a whole. In 1983, nationwide union membership had dropped to 18%, but nearly one in four Wisconsinites were still represented by organized labor. 

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#27. District of Columbia

– Members of unions: 31,000 (8.9% of employed population)
— Up 1,000 from 2020 (+0.3 percentage points)
– Workers represented by unions: 35,000 (9.9% of employed population)
— Up 2,000 from 2020 (+0.4 percentage points)

The District of Columbia is situated right on the border of the pro-union Northeast and the South, where right-to-work laws first emerged and remain the strongest. Today, District government employees alone are represented by 114 collective bargaining units, 48 locals, and 15 international unions.

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Momoneymoproblemz // Wikimedia Commons

#25. Indiana

– Members of unions: 256,000 (9% of employed population)
— Up 21,000 from 2020 (+0.7 percentage points)
– Workers represented by unions: 290,000 (10.2% of employed population)
— Up 20,000 from 2020 (+0.7 percentage points)

Union membership in Indiana reached 11.3% in 2011. The next year, the state enacted right-to-work legislation, and the decades-long decline in union membership quickly accelerated.

Brian Hillegas // Wikimedia Commons

#25. Missouri

– Members of unions: 235,000 (9% of employed population)
— Down 3,000 from 2020 (-0.4 percentage points)
– Workers represented by unions: 266,000 (10.2% of employed population)
— Up 12,000 from 2020 (+0.1 percentage points)

Missouri and neighboring Illinois are an island in a sea of right-to-work states, and Missouri voters chose to keep it that way when the issue came to a vote in 2018. A proposed right-to-work law was rejected by 67% of Missourians—an overwhelming majority.

Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

#24. Kansas

– Members of unions: 120,000 (9.2% of employed population)
— Up 6,000 from 2020 (+0.3 percentage points)
– Workers represented by unions: 148,000 (11.4% of employed population)
— Up 4,000 from 2020 (+0.2 percentage points)

In 2018, while Missouri was overwhelmingly rejecting a right-to-work measure, neighboring Kansas marked its 60-year anniversary as a right-to-work state. According to the Lawrence Journal-World, early labor opponents in Kansas were successful in exploiting fears of communism and integration to fracture a long-standing alliance between farmers and industry workers.

Darren Ringer // Wikimedia Commons

#23. West Virginia

– Members of unions: 66,000 (9.6% of employed population)
— Down 5,000 from 2020 (-1.1 percentage points)
– Workers represented by unions: 73,000 (10.5% of employed population)
— Down 2,000 from 2020 (-0.8 percentage points)

West Virginia’s labor history is rich in drama. Like Kentucky, West Virginia was a primary battleground for the coal wars—where mining bosses and their collaborators in law enforcement and government terrorized, arrested, evicted, harassed, and murdered labor leaders and union members. In 1921, as many as 100 people died in the Blair Mountain Massacre, the largest labor uprising in American history, when strikebreakers and their allies in the military and police attacked thousands of West Virginia miners and their families.

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#22. Delaware

– Members of unions: 42,000 (9.7% of employed population)
— Up 1,000 from 2020 (no percentage point change)
– Workers represented by unions: 44,000 (10.2% of employed population)
— No change from 2020 (-0.1 percentage points)

Despite being halfway through the list, Delaware is one of only a few states so far that doesn’t enforce right-to-work laws, a fact that reinforces just how detrimental those kinds of laws are to organized labor. At the start of 2020, Delaware made headlines when its employees in the state legislature announced plans to unionize.

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#21. New Hampshire

– Members of unions: 65,000 (10.1% of employed population)
— Up 3,000 from 2020 (+0.3 percentage points)
– Workers represented by unions: 73,000 (11.3% of employed population)
— Up 3,000 from 2020 (+0.2 percentage points)

Despite trending Republican from the late 1940s through the late 1980s, New Hampshire is now a reliably Democratic state. Labor unions there are small but influential. In 2017, organized labor in New Hampshire led a successful effort to defeat proposed right-to-work legislation in the state.

Mbell1975 // Wikimedia Commons

#20. Maryland

– Members of unions: 295,000 (11% of employed population)
— Down 56,000 from 2020 (-2.1 percentage points)
– Workers represented by unions: 332,000 (12.3% of employed population)
— Down 48,000 from 2020 (-1.8 percentage points)

In Maryland, the top two Food and Commercial Workers local unions represent the largest number of union members in the state by far. Together, locals 400 and 27 boast more than 39,000 members.

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#19. Montana

– Members of unions: 49,000 (11.2% of employed population)
— Down 1,000 from 2020 (-0.8 percentage points)
– Workers represented by unions: 56,000 (12.9% of employed population)
— Up 2,000 from 2020 (-0.1 percentage points)

Off the coast, the entire inland Western United States from Missouri to the Pacific Ocean is made up of right-to-work states except three: blue Colorado and New Mexico, which fit the pattern, and ruby red Montana. A right-to-work bill, supported by the state’s Republican governor, was defeated on the floor of the Montana House of Representatives in March 2021.

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#18. Ohio

– Members of unions: 596,000 (12% of employed population)
— Down 41,000 from 2020 (-1.2 percentage points)
– Workers represented by unions: 647,000 (13% of employed population)
— Down 39,000 from 2020 (-1.2 percentage points)

A strange and headline-generating reversal of alliances played out in a battle between a Republican incumbent and Democratic challenger in a 2018 Ohio House election: virtually all significant unions in both the public and private sectors endorsed the GOP incumbent. Nationally, 90% of union spending goes to Democrats, but in Ohio in 2019 it was almost evenly split.

littlenySTOCK // Shutterstock

#17. Nevada

– Members of unions: 153,000 (12.2% of employed population)
— Down 8,000 from 2020 (-1.2 percentage points)
– Workers represented by unions: 176,000 (14.1% of employed population)
— Down 10,000 from 2020 (-1.3 percentage points)

The sheer size of the Las Vegas hospitality industry makes Nevada hard to compare to other states, but it has proven to be a model for union strength in modern times. However, its union membership has declined in recent years.

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#16. Vermont

– Members of unions: 32,000 (12.3% of employed population)
— Up 1,000 from 2020 (+0.5 percentage points)
– Workers represented by unions: 37,000 (14.2% of employed population)
— Up 1,000 from 2020 (+0.4 percentage points)

Like all of its New England neighbors and the Northeast in general, Vermont is not a right-to-work state. In October 2020, the state’s Republican governor signed a bill that expands access to new employees for public-sector unions and includes other protections for organized labor.

Christopher Boswell // Shutterstock

#15. Maine

– Members of unions: 70,000 (12.4% of employed population)
— Down 12,000 from 2020 (-2.3 percentage points)
– Workers represented by unions: 83,000 (14.7% of employed population)
— Down 10,000 from 2020 (-2.0 percentage points)

In 2017, Republican Gov. Paul LePage pushed to have Maine become the first Northeastern state to pass a right-to-work law. LePage argued that it was a necessary step to attract businesses, but his push was unsuccessful, the mixed state legislature balked, and in 2019, Maine elected a Democratic governor.

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#14. Massachusetts

– Members of unions: 402,000 (12.6% of employed population)
— Up 45,000 from 2020 (+0.6 percentage points)
– Workers represented by unions: 433,000 (13.6% of employed population)
— Up 50,000 from 2020 (+0.8 percentage points)

Labor in Massachusetts flexed its muscles when the governor began devising reopening plans in May 2020, after the pandemic forced an economic shutdown in the state. Since union laborers comprised the majority of the front-line service workers who would be most affected, union leaders demanded a seat at the table of the committee tasked with crafting the reopening strategy.

Derek.cashman // Wikimedia Commons

#13. Pennsylvania

– Members of unions: 693,000 (12.9% of employed population)
— Down 24,000 from 2020 (-0.6 percentage points)
– Workers represented by unions: 732,000 (13.6% of employed population)
— Down 43,000 from 2020 (-1.0 percentage point)

As an early leader in the mining, railroad, coal, and agriculture industries, Pennsylvania played a critical role in America’s formative organized labor movements. It’s not a right-to-work state, and starting in 1988, non-union, public-sector laborers who didn’t want to join or pay dues paid a reduced fee to be covered by union-earned collective bargaining agreements. Called the fair-share fee, this plan—and others like it all across America—was struck down by the Supreme Court in 2018 in a devastating decision against organized labor.

Rachel KRamer // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Michigan

– Members of unions: 540,000 (13.3% of employed population)
— Down 64,000 from 2020 (-1.9 percentage points)
– Workers represented by unions: 620,000 (15.3% of employed population)
— Down 41,000 from 2020 (-1.3 percentage points)

In 2012, Michigan shocked the country when it became the 24th state to pass a right-to-work law in what had long been the cultural, historical, and political heart of the American labor movement. In 2018, five years after the law went into effect, nine of Michigan’s 11 largest unions reported declines in membership and political spending.

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Daniel Schwen // Wikimedia Commons

#11. Illinois

– Members of unions: 752,000 (13.9% of employed population)
— Up 13,000 from 2020 (-0.4 percentage points)
– Workers represented by unions: 818,000 (15.2% of employed population)
— Up 30,000 from 2020 (no percentage point change)

The Pullman Strike, which led to the creation of Labor Day, took place in Illinois, home to the final resting place of Mother Jones. Some of the most important moments in the history of organized labor took place in Illinois as well, including the Cherry Mine Disaster, the Herrin Massacre, and the Haymarket Affair.

Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

#10. Connecticut

– Members of unions: 223,000 (14.6% of employed population)
— Down 39,000 from 2020 (-2.5 percentage points)
– Workers represented by unions: 248,000 (16.3% of employed population)
— Down 34,000 from 2020 (-2.1 percentage points)

Connecticut has recently been a battleground for the labor movement in the Northeast. In 2019, unions prevailed in two high-profile legislative battles, one that guaranteed a $15 minimum wage and another that granted paid medical leave. The state remains on the front lines of the region’s ongoing labor battles.

Will Hart // Flickr

#9. Rhode Island

– Members of unions: 75,000 (15.7% of employed population)
— Down 6,000 from 2020 (-2.1 percentage points)
– Workers represented by unions: 83,000 (17.4% of employed population)
— Down 4,000 from 2020 (-1.7 percentage points)

Although tiny in size, Rhode Island boasts one of America’s biggest union membership rolls in terms of the percentage of employee population—and it’s also home to some of organized labor’s oldest and richest history. The forerunners to Rhode Island’s first unions emerged in the early 1750s, before America was even a country.

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#8. Alaska

– Members of unions: 46,000 (15.8% of employed population)
— Down 3,000 from 2020 (-1.9 percentage points)
– Workers represented by unions: 50,000 (17.2% of employed population)
— Down 5,000 from 2020 (-2.3 percentage points)

Iowa’s recertification law is hardly the only example of anti-union legislators erecting unnecessary legal barriers making it harder to join a union, to recruit new union members, and to stay within the state’s regulations. In Alaska, for example—a state with a long history of labor solidarity—the governor pushed for a rule in 2019 that would force union workers to opt in to their unions every year.

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#7. California

– Members of unions: 2.5 million (15.9% of employed population)
— Up 27,000 from 2020 (-0.3 percentage points)
– Workers represented by unions: 2.8 million (17.8% of employed population)
— Up 102,000 from 2020 (+0.2 percentage points)

California is one of only two states in America that still measures its union members in the millions—and organized labor’s membership rolls in the Golden State continue to grow. After years of decline, unions in California realized gains among electricians, nurses, mechanics, researchers, animation artists, and more. This growth has been enabled by a labor-friendly state legislature.

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#6. Minnesota

– Members of unions: 416,000 (16% of employed population)
— Up 18,000 from 2020 (+0.2 percentage points)
– Workers represented by unions: 446,000 (17.1% of employed population)
— Up 19,000 from 2020 (+0.1 percentage points)

Minnesota joins Ohio, Illinois, and Missouri as the only remaining states in the Midwest not governed by right-to-work laws. The state’s labor activists are famous for their intense political participation, and Minnesota union membership has increased as the state adds more and more jobs.

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#5. New Jersey

– Members of unions: 608,000 (16.2% of employed population)
— Up 8,000 from 2020 (+0.1 percentage points)
– Workers represented by unions: 672,000 (17.9% of employed population)
— Up 12,000 from 2020 (+0.1 percentage points)

New Jersey is home to some of the oldest industrial centers, and its history in the labor movement goes back nearly as far as the industrial revolution. Shortly after the country won its independence, laborers in New Jersey’s massive shoemaking industry organized for better working conditions.

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#4. Oregon

– Members of unions: 318,000 (17.8% of employed population)
— Up 43,000 from 2020 (+1.6 percentage points)
– Workers represented by unions: 336,000 (18.8% of employed population)
— Up 43,000 from 2020 (+1.5 percentage points)

Oregon is part of the organized labor stronghold that is the American West Coast. As union membership declined nationwide in 2019, membership rolls in Oregon went up. The downside, however, is that the influence of organized labor appears to have waned since the Supreme Court ruled in 2018 that non-union members can’t be forced to financially contribute to collective bargaining initiatives.

Oragne_Suede_Sofa // Wikimedia Commons

#3. Washington

– Members of unions: 629,000 (19% of employed population)
— Up 72,000 from 2020 (+1.6 percentage points)
– Workers represented by unions: 661,000 (20% of employed population)
— Up 65,000 from 2020 (+1.4 percentage points)

One of America’s most reliable labor strongholds, Washington state saw its membership rolls rise by more than 10% in 2019 as unions across the state added tens of thousands of new members. Among the modern legislative accomplishments attributed to union activism in Washington are a $15 minimum wage, paid sick leave, and paid medical and family leave.

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#2. New York

– Members of unions: 1.7 million (22.2% of employed population)
— Up 68,000 from 2020 (+0.2 percentage points)
– Workers represented by unions: 1.9 million (24.1% of employed population)
— Up 85,000 from 2020 (+0.5 percentage points)

New York stands with California as the only two states left with seven-figure union membership rolls. From the Brooklyn Bridge and the Empire State Building, to the network of subterranean tunnels that carry millions of New Yorkers on the city’s subway system every day, the evidence of New York City’s industrial heritage is literally everywhere you look. But it’s not just the big city—unions have contributed to every facet of the labor, politics, and social fabric across the state.

You may also like: 30 big companies that started with little to no funding

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#1. Hawaii

– Members of unions: 121,000 (22.4% of employed population)
— Up 1,000 from 2020 (-1.3 percentage points)
– Workers represented by unions: 131,000 (24.1% of employed population)
— Up 1,000 from 2020 (-1.6 percentage points)

Only two states can still boast union membership of more than 20% of their working population—New York and Hawaii. The island chain witnessed labor uprisings long before achieving statehood, which were largely organized by race among laborers toiling in what was then the state’s sugar plantation system. Once workers united and formed one single union, however, organized labor grew deep roots in the state, and Hawaii continues to be America’s foremost union state.

You may also like: Can you guess the company these real ‘Jeopardy!’ questions are about?

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IT spending is a “recession-proof” investment in 2023

Gartner forecasts a 2.4% increase in global IT spending.

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Companies in the US can’t afford to blow their budgets this year in the face of inflation. Just look at Salesforce, who axed nearly 10% of their workforce and ended office leases in an effort to reduce business costs by $3 – 5 billion

Tech giants like Tesla and Google have followed suit, especially for corporate and recruitment staff  — but not for IT spending

Over half of today’s digital leaders plan to spend more on IT in 2023 despite common predictions for tough financial times. 

But how much more?

Gartner comes through with the numbers, citing a 2.4% increase in overall global IT spending for 2023. This was great news for the SaaS industry especially, as software spending will jump a massive 9.3%. 

But this isn’t really news. 

We saw this coming when Google Workspace boasted an impressive 3 billion users at the end of 2021. Another indicator was the massive IT skills shortage that had companies scrambling to recruit developers, programmers, and engineers. 

With more software comes more implementation, strategy, and maintenance. This prompts a 5.5% increase in IT services spending for 2023. We’re talking qualified, experienced IT professionals from programmers and cloud architects to network engineers, information security experts, and analytics professionals. Digital leaders want to have a reliable team to keep the data (and revenue) flowing. 

On top of that, you can expect to see more and more dollars allocated for the latest automation and productivity tech, aka AI software and robots. Efficiency is the name of the game, and companies will maximize it with both skilled IT professionals and robots. 

Still, cloud infrastructure and data center systems will take precedence, with a 0.7% increase in spending this year. Companies need somewhere to sift through, store, and analyze all that data, with insights that 21% of leaders see as driving more revenue.  

Don’t get too excited, though — your annual laptop refresh might take a backseat as companies drop device spending by 5.5%. 

Bottom line? You’ll be on the receiving end of a pumped-up IT budget with the right apps, software, and IT skills. As Gartner Analytics VP John-David Lovelock reminds us? 

“IT spending remains recession-proof.”

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Project management strategies everyone can use to boost productivity

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ClickUp looks at how project managers use certain techniques to boost productivity and how people can apply them to their daily lives.
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With more offices offering hybrid and remote options for employees than ever before, the need for efficiency is essential.

Workplace productivity is declining at the fastest rate in decades, despite employees working more. Experts cite many reasons, ranging from higher financial stress to a plateau following the rise in productivity in the early 2000s. Disruptions in the workday are also inevitable as each new wave of COVID-19 and other illnesses spike.

One way to course-correct is to study how project managers help organizations and apply it to your personal or work-from-home life. Among the crucial skills for project management are time management and critical thinking—two of the most significant barriers to productivity. A successful project manager also understands how to deliver a product or service for a company with limited resources and time.

Another element of project management involves communication, which is crucial for success in any endeavor. Examining communication methods and evaluating areas for improvement can reduce mistakes and help with accountability. Beyond gaining a deeper understanding of your stakeholders, communication boosts productivity.

Adding project management techniques to your daily life has many benefits aside from productivity, especially for people who struggle with time management. For that reason, ClickUp put together a list of techniques used by project managers after analyzing resources from the Project Management Institute. Even though the methods are for business, they can be applied to virtually any task-related setting.

A person writing down a list of their goals.

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Set goals and define ‘success’

Success looks different for everyone, and every successful project management team understands this. Before a methodology can begin, the desired result must be clear.

The end goal or measure of success should reflect reality, with input from the entire team, and also not be set in stone. Having a goal gives project managers a way to scale success. If they assess halfway through the project and find the goal unreachable at the current production rate, they will fine-tune the approach and reevaluate the plan.

Three runners jumping hurdles.

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Identify hurdles and risks

At the start of a project, it can seem like the only risk is failing to complete it.

But understanding what risk actually means can help avoid bad outcomes. It is essential to define the risk before you begin.

In an office, talk with your manager or client so you understand the goals and worst-case scenario; understanding both can help you better visualize what to avoid and how to plan for success. At home, this could be a project like a basement renovation, where you must gauge how the construction will put your safety at risk. In project management, a manager would engage stakeholders to assess the risks, so in this situation, a stakeholder might be the contractor. Once the contractor outlines the scope of the work, it will become clearer what the risks are.

A group of business people in an office space.

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Assess stakeholders

Stakeholders are those impacted by a product launch or event, even if they don’t have direct involvement. They can also include the group of people who work on making the project, as well as the end users, customers, or clients for whom the project is intended to reach.

A good project management team will assess each stakeholder’s expectations about the project, such as timelines and deliverables. Stakeholders who are invested in creating the deliverable will need to be happy with the production schedule, quality, and workflow process; they also need to know that the product will satisfy the end user. End users will also need t know that the final product will meet their expectations on what they want to buy or benefit from. 

Assuming you know what stakeholders expect can create disappointment and disagreement, so taking time to assess stakeholder expectations when the project starts helps ensure a smoother, better-managed project down the line. Understanding how everyone will feel the impact of every project stage will avoid conflict. 

 

A person writing in their planner.

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Employ the proper tools

If you’ve ever heard the phrase “setting yourself up for success,” then you understand the importance of having the right tools.

Project management requires the proper tools for tracking results and creating new approaches. Certain tools make communication between team members easier, so taking the time to find the right tools for you will go a long way in boosting productivity. Make sure to evaluate your team’s workflow and identify inefficiencies so that you can pinpoint the right tools with solutions. For many teams, this often includes a content or project management system to track progress, a better email organization approach, or a messaging app to facilitate communication.

A project manager writing on a white board.

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Assess impact

A project manager with a lot of professional experience understands the impact any event or product launch will have on an organization. PMs can predict how an event launch will affect every industry. They know how outside influences such as the economy or buying behavior can change the outcome of a project.

Impact analysis can help with anything that involves more than one person.

If a team member needs to pitch in on a project or a production schedule needs to be overhauled to account for problems, assess how it will impact the short term. A project manager would determine the financial and reputational cost of disruptions, and the impact of different scenarios that might result from different tactics to solve them.

A scrum master and their teammates meeting.

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Implement Agile methods

The Agile method is about consistently seeking better ways to achieve goals for an organization in ways that best benefit the team members. This aspect of project management involves constantly checking in with stakeholders and team members to fine-tune a system or process.

If managing a team, this method would include colleagues and managers giving their input. Each time a member chimes in, the Agile method would require tailoring. Because the Agile method emphasizes collaboration and communication, it can be beneficial in a group project to increase productivity.

A person reviewing a tablet with the principles of Six Sigma displayed.

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Implement the Six Sigma structure

Sigma is a word that comes from the bell curve in statistics, where it refers to the deviation from the center.

Whenever plans go haywire, the best bet is to figure out the deviation from the intended outcome, which is why the Six Sigma approach is popular among project managers. This methodology aims to define the reason for the departure and identify the errors.

Then, after assessing the value chain and involving stakeholders, Six Sigma processes ways for the business to run more efficiently. The ability to highlight weak areas of a project can save time and frustration.

This story originally appeared on ClickUp and was produced and
distributed in partnership with Stacker Studio.

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Leave these 6 phrases behind to sound more confident over email

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Ready to communicate with more confidence? Pyn compiled a list of six commonly used email techniques business professionals should drop for good.
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Hello!

Per the above headline, I thought I would just put together a few tips that may help you try to write better emails. Is there a time that works well for you to do that?

If something about the above sentences feels uncertain or even hesitant, it’s because they include crutches professionals lean on in communicating through email that can be detrimental to everyday work.

To help you avoid these pitfalls in 2023, Pyn compiled a list of six commonly used words and phrases in emails that business professionals should drop for good if they want to be more effective communicators.

Twenty years ago, according to Gallup polling, almost all internet users were likely to say that email improved their lives (it was also pretty much the only thing they used the internet for).

Today that may not exactly be the case as a generation of white-collar workers pushes back against work bleeding into their personal lives via the always-connected nature of the internet. More than half of professionals don’t even feel like they can disconnect while on paid vacation, according to a 2022 survey performed by Glassdoor subsidiary Fishbowl.

Our intense reliance on the medium in today’s world of work is all the more reason to become a more effective communicator. Cut straight to the chase with each message you draft, and hit that send button confidently in 2023 with the following suggestions.

Woman in office composing email.

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‘I was hoping to …’

Indirect intent can be an authority killer.

Be clear with the intent of your message to the recipient and avoid using phrases such as “I thought I would …” or “I just wanted to reach out in order to …” or “I was hoping to ….”

Other business communications experts have recommended that emails shouldn’t include the word “just” as it minimizes credibility. This rule can apply to any other sentence construction that belabors the point of the email.

Draft the message and then read the email back to yourself. Ask what the purpose of each line is. If the sentence in which you make your request, issue a reminder, or assign a task includes filler language like this, your email may be stronger without it.

Professionals who study organizational behavior also caution that some cultures—like that of Japan or midwestern U.S. states—prefer, and are adept at, communicating indirectly. Be sure to understand who is on the other end of your message.

Close up of hands typing on laptop computer.

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‘What time works best for you?’ and the folly of ‘circling back’

Are you organizing a meeting or looking to get some face time with someone? Avoid asking broadly what time they’re available. It can be helpful to move toward the other person in terms of your effort in the engagement.

When you’re looking to connect with someone away from email, an open-ended question only prolongs the back and forth. It’s a good rule of thumb to treat people you want to work with as though their time is as important, if not more, than your own.

Cut to the chase and suggest a few times that will work with your schedule while showing you’re open to other suggestions.

Person composing email on laptop computer in office.

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‘Try’

A prolific business mentor once told his pupil: “Do or do not. There is no try.”

Ah, wait, that was Yoda who said that. Nonetheless, he had a point that shouldn’t be lost when communicating effectively through email.

There is a lot of trying that happens in the course of business. Sales associates try to woo new customers and clients. Executives try to appease shareholders when the market disagrees with a particular investment. But attitude is everything, and your authoritative nature will stand out when you stop saying you will try to do things.

Using the word try can be interpreted as a half-hearted commitment. Tell people what you intend to do and, if necessary, include any limitations or hurdles you anticipate. And then give it your all.

Man reading email on tablet in cafe.

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‘Fine’

Passive aggressiveness is lurking everywhere in today’s age of text messaging, Slack and social media. More than that, people could mistakenly read passive aggression in common phrases you may use regularly.

Words like “fine” and phrases including “per my last email” may be used with the best intentions but can be interpreted negatively by the recipient. The last thing you want the person on the other end of an email to do is assume the wrong tone in your message.

Close view of laptop screen with email inbox open and someone typing.

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‘I’m connecting you with …’

When connecting people in your network via email be sure to observe the “double opt-in” rule.

Double opt-in means you’re independently getting permission from each party that they have the time, resources, and will to participate in the meeting. Both parties are opting to meet each other before you send the introduction email.

Networking gets deals done. But springing a connection with somebody can be detrimental to the business outcome if both parties aren’t invested beforehand. Avoid wasting everyone else’s time and have those independent conversations with each party ahead of time.

Man reading email on phone.

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‘Re:’

It’s time to leave filler text and basic subject lines in the dust.

Over the last decade, the proliferation of email newsletters has given marketing professionals troves of metrics that show us what makes customers open marketing emails and even what is most effective in getting the recipient to take action.

You can employ similar techniques in crafting subject lines in emails to colleagues and prospective business partners or clients. Adding a call to action in the subject is one way of setting expectations for how the recipient should interact with your message.

Billions of emails are sent through the email marketing platform Mailchimp every month; the company has found that people respond to a sense of urgency in subject lines.

What outcome are you hoping for with the email you’re sending? Does the person on the other end need to make a decision?

Don’t overthink it—state “decision required” or “feedback needed” in front of a brief proposal description separated by a colon or hyphen. This can also be useful when sharing things with colleagues outside of regular business hours. Don’t want them to stress over it? State it up front by tagging “not urgent” in your subject line.

This story originally appeared on Pyn and was produced and
distributed in partnership with Stacker Studio.

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