News Story

Union Membership in Michigan Down 38 Percent in 32 Years

Decline started long before right-to-work

The proportion of Michigan workers who belong to a union has plummeted 38 percent over the past 32 years.

Just over 1 million Michigan workers belonged to a union in 1983. That number had fallen to 621,952 in 2015, according to the website, which compiles data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That data includes private and public sector workers.

The number of union members in this state has dropped despite an increase in the number of people who are working. The decline started long before Michigan's right-to-work law went into effect in 2013.

In 1983, 3.3 million Michigan residents were working, 30.4 percent of whom were enrolled in unions. In 2015, there were 4.1 million workers in this state and 15.2 percent were in a union.

The decline in Michigan union membership follows a national trend.

In 1983, 17.7 million American workers, or about 20 percent of those working, belonged to unions. By 2015, there were 14.8 million union workers, around 11 percent.