Labor Unions

Industry Profile Report

Dive Deep into the industry with a 25+ page industry report (pdf format) including the following chapters

Industry Overview Industry Structure, How Firms Opertate, Industry Trends, Credit Underwriting & Risks, and Industry Forecast.

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Industry Profile Excerpts

Industry Overview

The 12,900 labor unions in the US promote the interests of organized labor and union employees through collective bargaining. They rely on membership dues and investment income for revenue. Local chapters typically remit a percentage of dues to national organizations. Unions typically set aside a percentage of dues to support various funds. Most unions have a general fund to cover basic operating expenses. A strike fund assists members in the event of a strike. Other types of funds include communications, education, scholarship, and emergency operations.

Highly Regulated Operations

Labor unions are heavily regulated by numerous government organizations, including the Department of Labor (DOL) and the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

Resistance From Employers

Foreign competition and the ensuing pressure to reduce labor costs have strained relations between employers and unions.

Industry size & Structure

The average labor union operates out of a single location, employs 8 workers, and generates about $1 million annually.

    • The labor union industry consists of about 12,900 organizations that employ about 104,600 workers and generate about $16 billion annually.
    • The industry is concentrated; the ten largest unions account for over 90% of total union membership. The industry includes national and local chapters of unions.
    • Large unions include the National Education Association (NEA), Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT).
                          Industry Forecast
                          Labor Unions Industry Growth
                          Source: Vertical IQ and Inforum

                          Coronavirus Update

                          May 9, 2022 - Unionization Activity Is Increasing
                          • Union representation petitions filed at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) increased 57% year over year Between October 2021 and March 2022, according to NLRB data. Some experts say that the biggest factor was the Covid-19 pandemic. Organizers are also taking advantage of the supportive political environment they've seen in decades, experts say. President Biden revamped the National Labor Relations Board, firing former President Donald Trump's NLRB general counsel Peter Robb shortly after taking office. Biden then installed the new general counsel Jennifer Abruzzo, a former union attorney, who has been using her enforcement powers pretty widely. Biden has targeted captive audience meetings, a common practice used by companies to reject union efforts.
                          • The Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) has relaxed rules governing labor union officer elections due to the coronavirus pandemic. Elections must carry on if possible. If not, they must be held when practicable.
                          • Unions are pushing to increase their memberships as companies struggle with labor shortages and supply chain bottlenecks due to the pandemic, according to The Wall Street Journal. Some union leaders say that many workers who put their health at risk to do front-line jobs are feeling overworked and underappreciated. Worker dissatisfaction comes at a time when employers are having trouble attracting and keeping employees. There were five unemployed persons for every job opening early in the pandemic. By November 2021, there were 0.7 unemployed persons for each job opening. Some unions, including the Service Employees International Union, the Teamsters, and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, have reported increased worker interest in unionizing as a means to better compensation, benefits, and working conditions. Gallup estimates that about 68% of all Americans approved of labor unions in 2021, the highest percentage since 71% in 1965.
                          • The rise in new COVID-19 cases brought on by the Delta variant intensified debates around vaccine requirements. More companies and state and local governments instituted vaccine mandates for some workers as the number of new COVID-19 cases increased. Some affected workers are represented by labor unions, which have had to carefully balance their members’ varying attitudes about vaccines. Local government and corporate mandates have faced pushback from unions representing airline pilots, police, firefighters.
                          • Several unions, including the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), expressed concern in late December 2021 when OSHA partially rescinded its emergency temporary standard (ETS) that protects healthcare workers. The ETS was established in June 2021 and, by law, was set to expire after six months. OSHA says it is working on establishing a permanent standard for protecting workers, but it could not be completed before the ETS lapsed. The AFGE, which represents workers at the Veterans Affairs Department, argued the ETS is still necessary because finalizing a permanent infectious disease standard could take years. A labor department spokesperson said several elements of the expired standard – including involving personal protective equipment and respiratory standards and other protections against COVID-19 – will continue to be enforced through employers’ “general duty” under the Occupational Safety and Health Act. In January, the National Nurses United union partnered with the AFL-CIO to petition the Biden administration for a permanent standard.
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