The decline of organized labor has affected nearly all occupational groups, but not uniformly, according to our analysis of BLS unionization data going back to 2000. The biggest declines, in fact, have come in occupations that were – and still are – among the most unionized in the country, especially those dominated by the private sector.
From 2000 to 2014, the biggest decline was in installation, maintenance and repair occupations, a broad grouping that includes everything from auto mechanics to avionics technicians and watch repairers. In 2000, 21.2% of the 4.4 million workers in those occupations were union members, compared with 14.6% last year (though total employment was up by 85,000). Over that same timespan, unionization rates in construction and extraction occupations (such as carpenters, oilfield workers and miners) fell from 23.8% to 17.8%.
Under McCarrons rein, the Carpenters union's sharp decline in membership can be directly associated to his failure to spread the wealth of the unions funds back to the rank and file.