Union membership declines in Oklahoma

Tuesday, February 1st 2005, 10:33 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Union membership in Oklahoma is dropping as manufacturing jobs leave the state and the effects of the right-to-work law is felt.

The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics says about 86,000 Oklahomans were union members last year, down from about 96,000 in 2003. There were 128,000 union workers in the state in 2002.

State AFL-CIO president Jim Curry says a big reason for the drop in union membership is because the state has lost 32,000 manufacturing jobs in the past four years. Also, voters approved a right-to-work law to prohibit union dues being a condition of employment.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says 12.5% of workers nationwide belong to a union. The bureau says the median weekly salary of union members was $781 last year, compared with a median weekly wage of $612 for nonunion workers.