Union Membership Dips Slightly in Texas

Union membership dipped slightly in Texas last year, but it's on the rise in Harris County.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, union membership statewide dipped from 5.4 to 5.2 percent of all wage and salary workers in 2011. According to Dale Wortham, president of the Harris County AFL-CIO, union membership in Harris County is rising.

"The United Continental merger actually helped us quite a bit, because the union that represents those workers now was not based in Houston. Back when it was Continental, it was a machinists local. Whenever United and Continental merged, the union went to Air Flight Attendants Association."

The reduction in Texas could be a reflection of the economic downturn on unionized industries, and teacher layoffs led to declining membership statistics.

"But it also has an effect of a rising union membership. Because of everything that the legislature's implemented, those who weren't union members have since joined the union now because they realize that's the only protection they have."

Nationwide, 11.8 percent of workers are union members, down from 11.9 percent in 2010.

Bio photo of Ed Mayberry

Ed Mayberry

Local Anchor, All Things Considered

Ed Mayberry has worked in radio since 1971, with many of those years spent on the rock 'n' roll disc jockey side of the business...