Federal employee unions see large membership boost in last decade


Most federal-employee unions have seen dramatic increases in their memberships since 2000, according to a Washington Post report.

In the field of public administration -- which includes finance, public safety and congressional agencies -- union membership is up more than 7 percent to 271,000 employees. About 340,000 are represented by a union.

The American Federation of Government Employees reported a 43 percent membership increase from 2000 to 2012, and now represents more than 282,000 workers, according to the Post. Part of the boost came from Transportation Security Administration employees winning the right to organize and choosing AFGE to represent them. The National Treasury Employees Union has gained 14,000 new members over the last 12 years. 

While the numbers remain strong over the long-term, federal union membership actually shrunk by about 2 percent from 2011 to 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics.

Public-sector employees at all levels make up a majority of unionized American workers. Nearly 36 percent of public-sector employees are union members, while only 6.6 percent of private-sector employees are part of a collective-bargaining group. Local government workers unionize at a higher rate than federal employees, with rates of around 42 percent and 27 percent, respectively.

The U.S. Postal Service remains the lone area of federal employment in which union membership has decreased significantly, the Post reported. The agency has cut 168,000 employees since 2006, 24 percent of its workforce. As a result, union membership has dropped more than 27 percent to 458,000 workers.

(Image via STILLFX/Shutterstock.com)

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