(WBBM NEWSRADIO) — The number of workers who are union members in Illinois and Chicago was up last year for the first time since 2017.
Data compiled by the Illinois Economic Policy Institute shows the state’s labor movement also had its most successful year of new organizing in the past decade.
The report notes that Illinois recorded a 60% success rate in 2021.
“The data shows clear links between union membership and better outcomes for workers, and we are seeing new organizing efforts in the workplace as well as a changing demographic composition of the unionized workforce,” said study co-author Frank Manzo IV.
The gains come as national union numbers are trending downward, but Illinois’ union membership is still below levels from a decade ago.
Illinois workers under 35 years old saw their overall unionization rate grow by as much as 23%, relative to 2018 levels. The unionization rate for women in Illinois has also grown over the last decade.
At the industry level, researchers found that public administration, construction, education, healthcare, and similar workers deemed essential during the COVID-19 pandemic remained the most heavily unionized both nationally and in Illinois.