The 15 Most Unionized Occupations in 2022

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Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on Smartest Dollar.

The year 2022 has brought some of the most notable wins for organized labor in the US in a number of years. Workers at major corporations like Starbucks, Amazon and Apple have led successful unions.

Applications for union elections filed with the National Labor Relations Board have increased by more than 50% compared to last year. And under President Joe Biden, a favored labor advocate, Congress has considered crafting legislation to strengthen unions and make it easier to organize.

Organized labor in the US has historically been a powerful measure for workers. Unions have been the driving force behind many of the reforms that are now fundamental labor protections, such as minimum wages, overtime pay, child labor laws, and an impact on the rights of workers. elections in the US. At the height of labor power in America, the union membership of all workers was 34.8%.

But unions have been on a steady decline in recent decades. Workers in highly unionized sectors such as manufacturing lost power amid the economic downturn and high unemployment rates of the late 1970s and early 1980s. Globalization and agreements Free trade makes it easier for employers to find work abroad in less expensive labor markets, while automation and other technological advances have also reduced the number of workers in the country. union works.

Deregulation and other policy changes such as work rights laws have reduced the power of unions. These changes drastically cut the proportion of US workers in unions.

Despite the general downward trend in union participation rates, parts of the economy continue to have fairly strong union participation. Because public sector employees tend to join unions at a higher rate, most of the industries with the highest percentage of union membership are dominated by public sector employers.

The data used in this analysis are from To identify the most unionized occupations, researchers at Smartest Dollar calculated the union membership percentage for each occupation.

Here are the professions that are most united.

15. Carpenter

Back image /
  • Trade union membership: 15.4%
  • Union coverage rate: 16.8%
  • Total union members: 136.930
  • Total federations covered: 150.104

14. Installers of heating, air conditioning, refrigeration

Workers install home security system
Andrey_Popov /
  • Trade union membership: 15.4%
  • Union coverage rate: 17.8%
  • Total union members: 59.327
  • Total federations covered: 68,592

13. Industrial machinery and refractory materials

Production worker
ESB Professional /
  • Trade union membership: 15.7%
  • Union coverage rate: 16.8%
  • Total union members: 68.017
  • Total federations covered: 72.819

12. Management of education and child care

Seniors working in the office
stockfour /
  • Trade union membership: 16.1%
  • Union coverage rate: 19.2%
  • Total union members: 143,766
  • Total federations covered: 170,835

11. Welding, Welding and Welding Workers

Zivica Kerkez /
  • Trade union membership: 16.2%
  • Union coverage rate: 17.7%
  • Total union members: 84.319
  • Total federations covered: 92.332

10. Registered nurse

GagliardiImages /
  • Trade union membership: 17.1%
  • Union coverage rate: 19.2%
  • Total union members: 537,329
  • Total federations covered: 603.554

9. Preschool and kindergarten teachers

Monkey Business Images /
  • Trade union membership: 18.1%
  • Union coverage rate: 21.1%
  • Total union members: 104,394
  • Total federations covered: 121.553

8. Post-secondary teachers

stockfour /
  • Proportion of union members: 20.0%
  • Union coverage rate: 22.9%
  • Total union members: 229,467
  • Total federations covered: 263.019

7. Social workers, all others

Family therapist
  • Proportion of union members: 20.4%
  • Union coverage rate: 22.0%
  • Total union members: 132.423
  • Total federations covered: 142.878

6. Plumber, pipe fitting and steam converter

Plumber fixes toilets
alfernec /
  • Proportion of union members: 24.8%
  • Union coverage rate: 26.4%
  • Total union members: 128.554
  • Total federations covered: 136,646

5. Teaching assistant

Teacher and student
SpeedKingz /
  • Trade union membership: 26.7%
  • Union coverage rate: 30.3%
  • Total union members: 344.023
  • Total federations covered: 389,581

4. Electrician

Electrician inspecting the house
  • Trade union membership: 31.2%
  • Union coverage rate: 31.7%
  • Total union members: 238,369
  • Total federations covered: 242.154

3. Elementary and middle school teachers

Teachers and students in the classroom
Monkey Business Images /
  • Proportion of union members: 46.6%
  • Union coverage rate: 51.6%
  • Total union members: 1,519,386
  • Total federations covered: 1,682.758

2. Middle School Teacher

Monkey Business Images /
  • Trade union membership: 49.6%
  • Union coverage rate: 55.1%
  • Total union members: 464,121
  • Total federations covered: 515.333

1. Police

Minneapolis police
miker /
  • Trade union membership: 52.8%
  • Union coverage rate: 55.7%
  • Total union members: 405.642
  • Total federations covered: 428,165

Detailed discovery & methodology

job creation 51 /

The data used in this analysis are from To determine which occupations were most unionized, the researchers calculated the percentage of union members for each occupation. In the event of a tie, occupations with greater union coverage will be ranked higher. To improve relevance, only the top 100 occupations, by number of US employees, are considered in this analysis.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click on links in our stories.

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