Millennials United: Labor Unions Enjoy a Youthful Surge

The mentor-protege relationship within the brotherhood is as important as ever. And with the ability to pursue a debt-free career versus job hopping or juggling multiple jobs, the Carpenters help position members to provide for their families and eventually retire with peace of mind and dignity.

By Carly Stern

“Millennial-aged workers are now leading growth in overall union membership, upending historical stereotypes that younger workers don’t identify with the labor movement. For decades, total union membership numbers were seemingly in terminal decline, coming down from 16.27 million in 1996 to 14.37 million in 2012. Between 2012 and 2017 too, the number of union members over the age of 35 dropped by 1,000. But over this period, the number of union members under the age of 35 rose by 452,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, leading to an overall increase in union memberships over the past five years, by 451,000. That means millennials are effectively offsetting dips in the membership of older workers, and adding tens of thousands more to union rosters — though they comprise less than 40 percent of the workforce.

“Younger millennials were searching for their first jobs during the Great Recession and potentially have an understanding of what it means to be economically vulnerable, says Jessica Schieder, an economic analyst at the Economic Policy Institute. And unlike older age groups, adults younger than 30 are much more likely to have a favorable view of unions than of corporations, according to the 2017 Fact Tank report by Pew Research Center. Although the economy has rebounded overall, those gains are concentrated at the top, according to Jacobs.”

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