Building Better Communities

Communities Do Better When Unions Are Stronger

Studies show that states in which more people are union members are states with higher wages, better benefits and better schools. While unions are just one of the factors that affect the quality of living, the pattern indicates that when workers have a voice, everyone in the community benefits—not just union members.

Ten States with Strongest Unions

(based on percentage of the workforce with a union) are:

  • Hawaii
  • New York
  • Alaska
  • New Jersey
  • Washington State
  • Michigan
  • Illinois
  • Minnesota
  • California
  • Connecticut

Ten States with Weakest Unions

(based on percentage of the workforce with a union) are:

  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Virginia
  • Georgia
  • Texas
  • Arkansas
  • Florida
  • Utah
  • Mississippi
  • South Dakota

Ten States Where Unions Are Strongest  ----- Ten States Where Unions Are Weakest

Average Hourly Manufacturing Earnings, 2005 (1)
$17.01 -----$14.39

Median Household Income, 2005 (2)
$53,380  ----- $43,204

Percent of Population With No Medical Insurance, 2005 (3) -----
13.4% 17.5%

Workplace Fatalities Per 100,000 Employees, 2004 (4)
4.0 ----- 5.2

Public Education Spending Per Pupil, 2005-2006 (5)
$10,507----- $7,580

Percent of Eligible Voters Who Voted in Presidential Election, 2004 (6)
60.8% -----55.0%

Crimes Per 100,000 Population, 2004 (7)
3,715----- 4,168

Percent of Population in Poverty, 2005 (8)
10.4% -----13.4%

Sources:

  1. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
  2. U.S. Census Bureau
  3. U.S. Census Bureau
  4. BLS, Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, 2004
  5. National Education Association, Rankings and Estimates—Rankings of the States 2005 and Estimates of School Statistics, 2006, November 2006.
  6. Fair Vote, the Center for Voting and Democracy. Committee for the Study of the American Electorate.
  7. Kathleen O’Leary Morgan and Scott Morgan, State Rankings 2006, Morgan Quitno Press, 2006.
  8. U.S. Census Bureau

Workers Memorial Mural celebrated at dedication event

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On a hot, sunny Memorial Day, May 30, 2016, a crowd of over 400 people gathered at the Workers Memorial Garden on the lawn at the State Capitol to dedicate a Workers Memorial Mural. The installation, a hand-cut stone mosaic created by Twin Cities artist Craig David, can be seen on the south-facing wall of the Workers Memorial Garden. It is a wild mix of colors and shapes that suggest images of workers and working life throughout the history of Minnesota. Read more »

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President McGarvey April 17, 2016 Keynote Address to 2016 Legislative Conference

Values. Issues. Opportunities. Brothers and Sisters... Ladies and Gentlemen... Distinguished Guests... Welcome to the 2016 Legislative Conference for North America's Building Trades Unions. I am proud to say that, because of the good work of all of you in this room...  as well as the vision and dedication of the leaders who join me on this stage here today... we have reason to be more hopeful and excited than ever before about the future economic prospects of the members and families of North America’s Building Trades Unions. Read more »

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Memorial to Capitol builders advances in Legislature

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Six students testified before the Senate State Departments and Budget Division, which then laid the measure over for possible inclusion in a budget document. In mid-March, another group of students spoke to a House committee that then approved the legislation. Read more »

Business-labor partnership tackles wage theft on public projects

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WorkdayMinnesota.org has completed a several months long study on wage theft in Minnesota. The problem is pervasive and widespread throughout the state in many types of work. Two of the studies focused on wage theft in non-union sectors of the building and construction trades. This article addresses partnerships between contractors and building trades unions using prevailing wage as a model.  Read more »

Residential construction industry built on ‘payroll fraud’ model

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WorkdayMinnesota.org has completed a several months long study on wage theft in Minnesota. The problem is pervasive and widespread throughout the state in many types of work. Two of the studies focused on wage theft in non-union sectors of the building and construction trades. This article addresses the problem in residential construction. 

Jose Ramirez had never heard the term “wage theft,” but he knew he was being cheated when a roofing subcontractor refused to pay him. Read more »

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On Saturday, 300 plumbers from unions across the country descended on Flint to install new faucets and water filters for free. Read more »