Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis issued the following statement regarding the Bureau of Labor Statistics report released today on union members in 2011:
"Today the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that, in 2011, the unionization rate of employed wage and salary workers was 11.8 percent, essentially unchanged from 11.9 percent in 2010. Among private sector employees, the rate remained at 6.9 percent.
"The data also show that among full-time wage and salary workers, the median weekly earnings of union members were $938, compared to $729 for nonunion workers. Union women earned median weekly earnings of $879, an amount 34.6 percent higher than their nonunion counterparts, who earned just $653 by comparison.
"Prior reporting shows that union members have greater access to health care, retirement and leave benefits. Today's numbers make it clear that union jobs are critical to a strong economy. And a strong economy depends on a strong and growing middle class.
"Ensuring that all people have a voice at work and protecting their right to organize and bargain collectively are essential for an America that's built to last, where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone pays his or her fair share and everyone plays by the same rules."