Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Eye Opener: Union rate among feds holds steady

By Ed O'Keefe

Eye Opener

Happy Monday! The percentage of union members in the federal workforce essentially stayed flat in 2009 compared to the previous year, while the actual number of union members on the federal payroll grew slightly, according to new figures released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Twenty-eight percent of federal workers were union members in 2009, compared to 28.1 percent in 2008, the agency said. The total number of unionized workers climbed slightly to more than 1 million, versus 994,000 the year before. The actual number surpassed the percentage growth because the federal workforce grew by more than 50,000 in 2009, BLS said.

The number of federal workers represented by unions -- or dues-paying union members and other employees whose jobs are covered by union contracts -- also climbed slightly to 33.2 percent, up two-tenths from 2008.

BLS said that more public sector employees (7.9 million) belonged to unions than private sector workers (7.4 million). Put another way, local, state and government workers made up 51.5 percent of all union members in 2009. Nationally, union membership dropped by one-tenth of a percentage point to 12.3 percent thanks to rising unemployment, BLS said. Union membership has declined by 2.5 million people since BLS started compiling membership numbers in 1983.

Federal worker unions remain an influential political force on Capitol Hill, especially among Washington-area lawmakers whose states and districts are home to millions of current and former federal employees and their families. But the slow rate of union growth should once again concern union leaders, who've fretted openly about the government's impending "brain drain" and the difficulty of recruiting newer, younger workers less prone to join unions.

One note: The percentage and total number of union members on the federal payroll could climb noticeably in the coming years if the Obama administration or Congress grant collective bargaining rights to Transportation Security Administration workers.

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

The Revolving Door: Dan Glickman, former agriculture secretary for Clinton administration and current president of the Motion Picture Association of America, will become president of Refugees International in April. Who's in? Who's out? Tell The Federal Eye

Cabinet and Staff News: Previous presidential speechwriters remember previous State of the Union addresses. The White House is confident Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will be confirmed for a second term. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates sees fallout from troubled ties with Pakistan. A House panel receives Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner's call logs. Former Commerce Secretary Robert A. Mosbacher dies at age 82. Longtime FCC Commissioner James A. Quello dies at age 95. The scorned mistress of a married Obama adviser posts billboards nationwide. Should TARP Oversight Committee Chairwoman Elizabeth Warren run for political office?

You're number 1: Alaska village up first in census: Census Bureau Director Robert Groves is flying to Noorvik in northwest Alaska on Monday to count the first household in the Inupiat Eskimo community of 650.

Official sentenced in spy case: James W. Fondren Jr., 62, was convicted in September of unlawful communication of classified information by a government employee and lying to the FBI. He was accused of giving classified Pentagon documents to a Chinese government agent.

U.S. soldiers play vital role in beleaguered Haitian shantytown: When Army Capt. Andrew Salmo stepped out from the makeshift military quarters in a former school, he and about 20 of his men were swarmed by the Haitians.

Foot on bomb, Marine defies a Taliban trap: The story of a VERY lucky Marine who stepped on an IED that didn't explode.

Obama to request $14.2 billion to train, equip Afghan forces: The funding represents more than double the $6.6 billion already appropriated for fiscal 2010 for the Afghan army and police.

CNN poll: 56 percent oppose stimulus program: Last March, just weeks after the stimulus bill was signed into law, a CNN poll indicated that 54 percent of the public supported the program, with 44 percent opposed.

White House brass split on stimulus stats: Obama advisers appearing on the Sunday talk shows gave three different estimates of how many jobs could be credited to President Obama’s Recovery Act.

Report says size of FCC staff decreased steadily during past decade: The number of employees working at the agency declined steadily between fiscal 2003 and 2008, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office. The culprit? An inability to offer competitive salaries and a lack of workforce planning.

FHA to provide early relief to homeowners: In the past, borrowers with FHA loans did not qualify for mortgage relief unless they had missed at least two payments. Now borrowers who are at risk of becoming delinquent, or facing "imminent default," will also qualify.

Two federal representatives named to Metro board: The agency appointed veteran transit official Mortimer L. Downey as a director and regional planning executive Marcel C. Acosta. The members -- the first of four federal appointees -- are expected to be seated at a scheduled board meeting Thursday.

After months of delay, GSA awards fleet contracts: Sales managers from the Big Three automakers — Ford, Chrysler and GM — say they have no idea why their contracts with the agency have been held up for so long.

Haitians, relatives in U.S. chafe under immigration rules: The tension between U.S. policy and the desperation to leave is spawning a debate in Washington over whether the government should let more Haitians in.

Canada, U.S. beef up security for the Vancouver Olympic Games: Numerous ships and planes, hundreds of Coast Guard, police and military personnel, and several U.S. diplomatic and border security teams will be at work when the cauldron is lighted at Vancouver's B.C. Place.

Justice Department to appeal dismissal of Blackwater indictment: Though legal experts say it's a long shot, Vice President Biden said the government will do it regardless while visiting Iraq on Saturday.

Report criticizes spending by contractor hired to train Iraqi police: For the second time in three years, the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction has sharply criticized spending by DynCorp International on its five-year-old, $2.5 billion contract to train Iraqi police.

Follow The Federal Eye on Twitter | Submit your news tips here

By Ed O'Keefe  | January 25, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Eye Opener  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Obama plays basketball at Interior Department
Next: National Archives bans photos by tourists


Elizabeth Warren's skills should be utilized more prominently in government.

Posted by: angie12106 | January 25, 2010 7:37 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company