Statistics about Union Elections and Strikes

I recently posted about how the 71% union approval rating does not equate to 60 million Americans desiring to be in a union.

People seemed to like statistics. Here are some more that may be interesting to you.

For all the media coverage about union organizing and strikes in the United States, this activity is pretty tepid from years past.

Major Work Stoppages (1000+ workers)
20 in 2022.
16 in 2021.
200 in 1980.

Total Strikes
385 in 2022
270 in 2021

RC (Union Representation) Petitions
1,522 in 2022
954 in 2021
5,000+ per year in the 1950s

Percent of Workers in a Union
10.1% in 2022
10.3% in 2021
35% in 1954

In my opinion, technology is the biggest reason why today’s numbers pale in comparison to those of the past.

Technology has allowed companies to offshore more manufacturing or subcontract to staffing agencies.

Technology has allowed companies to replace workers. Car washes are automatic. Self-scan groceries. Manufacturing robots. And soon the widespread use of driverless trucks.

Technology has allowed more people to work for themselves. Uber, Lyft, Door Dash, Amazon deliveries.

The current National Labor Relations Board is frantically trying to keep up with technology’s impact on the workforce.

If successful in codifying its joint employer and independent contractor standards, we may see union density reach 20%.

But to do so would encourage companies to offshore more work, and that would prevent the density from ever reaching 1950s levels again.


Matt Austin is a nationwide management labor lawyer. Labor laws govern virtually all private-sector employees regardless of union membership. Proactive management of labor relations is critical to maintaining flexibility and increasing profit.

Matt also runs Austin Legal’s HR Legal Compliance Program that, for a small monthly fee, ensures HR decisions are protected by the attorney-client privilege.

Matt’s experience is deeply rooted in helping manage many aspects of his clients’ businesses. To effectively manage labor relations, he must also manage budgets, forecasts, new growth areas, and projected market corrections. High emotional intelligence is also critical to negotiating union contracts and to properly advise HR Legal Compliance members through the nuances of the law, its application to their companies, and how it will be received by employees.

You can reach Matt via email at