Anecdotally we know that many LGBTQ individuals are employed as public sector workers, health care professionals, social workers, construction workers and service-sector employees. Many of these workforces are represented by unions. In fact in Washington State 19.4% of the workforce are represented by unions. That’s the 4th highest percentage in the nation. New York, Alaska and Hawaii beat Washington State with slightly higher rates of union represented workers. (United States Department of Labor, 2010)
Nationally, unions represent 36.2% of public sector workers and 6.9% of private sector workers. Unions represent 12.6% of male employees and 11.1% of female employees. Union representation broken down by race nationally is African-American 13.4%, whites 11.7%, Asians 10.9%, and Latinos 10.0%. Age is also an interesting factor. The highest age range of workers represented by unions is 55-64 with 15.7% and the lowest age range represented by unions is 16-24 with 4.3%. The median weekly wages for union members is $917 and for non-union member is $717. The group of workers with the highest rates of union representation is African-American males at 14.8% (United States Department of Labor, 2010)
Why don’t we talk about union representation rates for LGBTQ workers? Locally, we are not aware of any union that tracks their LGBTQ membership and this is a problem.