10 States With the Strongest Unions

10 States With the Strongest Unions
Firefighters examining fire reports on tablet
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This story originally appeared on SmartAsset.

Unions can be a great way for workers to gain power in the workplace and make sure they are treated and compensated fairly.

Overall, union participation rates in the U.S. are down: In 2018 the rate was 10.5%, while in 1983 it was 20.1%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Still, there are some places where unions are stronger than others. That’s why SmartAsset decided to crunch the numbers and find the states with the strongest unions.

To do so, we looked at data for all 50 states across the following eight metrics: number of union members, percentage of workers who are union members, four-year change in union membership, average annual wage for all occupations, average annual wage for middle school teachers, salary ratio of middle school teachers to all occupations, average wage for firefighters and salary ratio of firefighters to all occupations.

We looked specifically at teachers and firefighters, because those two professions generally have the highest unionization rates, according to the BLS. We drew 2019 data from the BLS and UnionStats.com.

First, we ranked each state in each metric. We then found the average ranking for each state, giving each state equal weight, with a few exceptions. The percentage of workers in unions received a double weight. The four metrics regarding average annual wages and salary ratios for middle school teachers and firefighters to the average salary of all occupations, each received a half weight.

We then used the average rankings to create our final rankings. The state with the highest average ranking received a score of 100, and the state with the lowest average ranking received a score of zero.

Following are the states with the strongest unions.

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