Report: Hawaii leads the nation in union membership

HONOLULU — Hawaii leads the nation in union membership, according to a federal labor report.

A U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report issued Wednesday named Hawaii as the state with the highest national union membership in 2018 with 139,000 workers, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported .

The report said 23.1 percent of wage and salary workers across the islands are union members and that the state’s union representation increased from 21.3 percent in 2017.

During the same period, the remainder of the country saw 10.5 percent of wage and salary workers represented by unions, down 0.2 percent from 2017, according to the report.

Richard Holden, the Bureau of Labor Statistics assistant commissioner for regional operations, said Hawaii saw its union membership peak in 1989 at 29.9 percent, while the lowest point came in 2016 at 19.9 percent.

Hawaii AFL-CIO President Randy Perreira called the state “a special place that has long been union-friendly given the role that labor has played in our state’s history.”

“Labor has a proud legacy of involvement in Hawaii,” Perreira said. “We appreciate that we remain one of the most progressive states allowing workers to have a voice on the job through their unions.”

Neal Milner, a retired political science professor at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, said that private and public unions represent employees from blue-collar workers to white-collar government employees and can still impact island politics.

“They’re very influential and they certainly are a factor, but they don’t control things,” Milner said.

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Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, http://www.staradvertiser.com

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