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February 2, 2024

Mass. union membership declined slightly in 2023, still above national average

A group of people holding signs and police officers stand on a sidewalk in front of a large building. Photo | Grant Welker Members of the Massachusetts Nurses Association picket during the record-breaking strike against Saint Vincent's Hospital, which lasted more than 300 days in 2021 and 2022, which largely centered around nurse-to-patient staffing levels.

Unionized workers accounted for 12.6% of employees in Massachusetts in 2023, a slight decrease from the figure of 12.7% seen in 2022. 

Despite the slight decline, union membership in Massachusetts remains above the national average, according to figures released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on Thursday, as 10% of nationwide wages and salary workers in 2023 were union members, the same national figure as last year.

Massachusetts had 412,000 union workers in 2023, with an additional 31,000 workers either being represented by a union on their main job or covered by a contract or employee association while not being union members themselves.

Massachusetts was third in the New England region in union membership in 2023. Connecticut led the region, with 15.9% of its wage and salary workers being unionized, while Vermont came in second, with a rate of 14.3%.

Maine had the lowest union membership in the region, at 9.3%.

Thursday’s revelation about the slight decrease in union membership came despite a number of high-profile organized labor efforts, including in Central Massachusetts:

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