Union membership in Illinois is down slightly over the last year. It was 831,000 last year, 15.1 percent of the workforce, down 20,000 workers from 2013, when it was 15.8 percent of the workforce, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Robert Bruno, a professor in the School of Labor and Employment Relations at the University of Illinois, says the recession caused job losses in traditionally unionized fields: Manufacturing, construction and government.
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Illinois is one of nine states with a union membership rate over 15 percent, and the only such state in the Midwest. The high for the union membership rate in Illinois was 21 percent, in 1993. The low was 14.5 percent in 2007, but it rebounded to 17.5 percent in 2009.
Illinois has an additional 49,000 workers who are not union members, but who are covered by a collective bargaining agreement.