Friday, January 29, 1999

Hawaii most
unionized state

The AFL-CIO says the isles
have edged out New York

Star-Bulletin staff


Hawaii has become the most heavily unionized state in the nation, edging out New York, the AFL-CIO said today, citing figures from the U.S. Department of Labor.

In Hawaii, 26.5 percent of wage and salary earners were union members at the end of 1998, an increase from 26.3 percent in 1997, the figures show.

New York, which was tied with Hawaii at 26.3 percent in 1997, slipped to 25.4 percent in 1998.

AFL-CIO officers said the figures, which show union membership up nationally, show that the organized labor movement is strong.

The labor organization said aggressive organizing efforts are showing success across the country.

In Hawaii's case, unions won 45 percent of the representational elections held in 1998, up from 35 percent in 1997.

The least unionized state in the nation was Arkansas, with 6.2 percent of its wage and salary earners in unions last year.

Nationally, union membership grew by more than 100,000 last year to a total of 16.2 million, the AFL-CIO said.

On the organizing side, successes included signing 19,000 United Airlines passenger service workers with the International Association of Machinists in July.

An AFL-CIO spokesman said that was the biggest single union organizing win in more than 20 years.

State of the Unions

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