Survey: Md. Ranked No. 8 in Union Strength

    Maryland was ranked No. 8 in a recent nationwide survey on union strength.

    SmartAsset, a financial news website, rated all 50 states for the strength of their unions, using eight different 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 compared to all occupations, average wage for firefighters and salary ratio of firefighters compared to all occupations.

    “We looked specifically at teachers and firefighters, because these two professions generally have the highest unionization rates, according to [the Bureau of Labor Statistics],” SmartAsset wrote.

    Using those numbers, Maryland is No. 8 on the list for union strength.

    In Maryland, the average annual salary across all occupations is $60,230, the sixth-highest in the nation. The state ranks in the top 15 for the total number of union workers (more than 328,000), and it ranks in the top 20 for the percentage of workers in unions (at 11.3%).

    While many states have seen a decline in union membership, Maryland’s increased 14.3% between 2015 and 2019. The average salary for a middle school teacher in the state is $74,400 and the average salary for a firefighter is $62,750.

    All of the top 10 states on the list are coastal states, led by Washington, California, New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island. North Carolina is dead last.

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    Josh Kurtz
    Co-founder and Editor Josh Kurtz is the leading chronicler of Maryland politics and government. He began covering the State House in 1995 for The Gazette newspapers, and has been writing about state and local politics ever since. He later became an editor at Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, and spent eight years at E&E News, an online subscription-only publisher of news websites covering energy and environmental issues. For seven of those years, he led a staff of 20 reporters at E&E Daily, which covers energy and environmental policy on Capitol Hill and in national politics. For 6 1/2 years he wrote a weekly column on state politics for Center Maryland and has written for several other Maryland publications as well. Kurtz has given speeches and appeared on TV and radio shows about Maryland politics through the years.