Labor Relations

Private companies in the Milwaukee MSA have higher unionization rates than the rest of Wisconsin and lower than the nearby Chicago MSA. The state of Wisconsin itself is has a much lower unionized private sector (5.2%) in comparison to other industry heavy states such as Ohio (8.3%) and nearby Michigan (11.1%). The percentage of union members in Wisconsin’s private sector dropped significantly from 2014 to 2015 (8.2% to 5.2%) showing the trend of union membership continually decreasing over the decades.  The Milwaukee MSA is seeing a historical decline in number of members as well, but it has a higher % of members as compared to the state and a lower %  compared to the United States overall.

Area Sector Observations Employment Members Covered % Members
Milwaukee MSA Private 775 594,051 36,460 38,810 6.1%
Chicago MSA Private 3,377 3,545,269 342,039 366,735 9.6%
Wisconsin Private 2,340 2,291,686 120,173 127,242 5.2%
United States Private 137,826 113,193.2 7,552.4 8,410.1 6.7%

Observations: the Current Population Survey (CPS) sample size
Employment: wage and salary employment
Members: employed workers who are Union members
Covered: workers covered by a collective bargaining agreement
% Members: percent of employers who are union members

Union Membership and Coverage Database. (2015). Retrieved August 11, 2016, from

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