Disorganized: Union membership hit an all-time low in 2016

NYC fast-food workers in the fight for $15: New York City Council members, union members and community allies unite to oppose Trump's pick of a fast-food CEO for U.S. secretary of Labor, in a protest outside the U.S. Department of Labor building.
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The portion of workers belonging to unions hit an all-time low in 2016, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Thursday.

Just 10.7 percent of the workforce was organized, a 0.4 percentage point annualized decline that translated to 240,000 members. The percentage has been dropping steadily since the BLS began tracking it in 1983, when the total was 20.1 percent.

Union membership rolls ended the year just under 14.6 million from a high of 17.7 million in 1983.

More than one in three union members is a public sector worker, with the private sector accounting for just 6.4 percent of the total. Education, training and library constitute the largest sector in the union ranks, at 34.6 percent.

Organized labor members still could boast higher wages, with average weekly earnings of $1,004 compared to $802 for nonunion, the BLS said. Some 13.1 percent of full-time workers belonged to unions, while the share was just 6.7 percent for part-time.

The highest-salaried union workers worked in legal professions and had a median weekly salary of $1,419. The lowest was food serving and preparation at $459.

In the public sector, 43.9 percent of local government workers are affiliated, while the total is 32.8 percent for state and 31.1 percent for federal. Unionized federal government workers had a median weekly salary of $1,188, while state union jobs paid $883 and local government positions had a salary of $817.

Food service establishments at 2 percent comprise the lowest share of union workers, while transportation and utilities led at more than 20 percent.

On an individual state basis, California and New York dominated, with 4.5 million combined union workers. Just seven states — Illinois, Pennsylvania, Michigan, New Jersey and Ohio were the others — accounted for more than half the union rolls, the BLS said.