(WKBN) – Union membership in Ohio is increasing, despite a decline nationally.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, union members accounted for 12.8% of wage and salary workers in Ohio in 2022, compared to 12.0% in 2021. Membership was at its peak at 21.3% in 1989, the first year comparable data was available. It was at its lowest in 2019, at 11.9%.

Nationwide, union membership stood at about 10.1% in 2022 — the lowest on record.

Since 2019, union membership rates in Ohio have been above the national average. Ohio had 641,000 union members in 2022, with another 58,000 wage and salary workers represented by a union on their main job or covered by an employee association or contract while not union members themselves.

States with most union membership: (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

  • Hawaii – 21.9%
  • New York – 20.7%
  • Washington – 18.0%
  • California – 16.1%
  • Alaska – 16.0%
  • Oregon – 15.5%
  • New Jersey – 14.9%
  • Minnesota – 14.2%
  • Connecticut – 14.2%
  • Michigan – 14.0%
  • Illinois – 13.1%
  • Ohio – 12.8%
  • Pennsylvania – 12.7%

According to the Associated Press, unions have lost a lot of their influence compared to decades ago, but “something has changed.” The renewed increase in interest and participation could be attributed to soaring costs of living and a widening gap between what workers and top executives are paid.

Locally, the Ultium Cells battery plant in Lordstown voted to unionize, with representation by the UAW. That has paid off with workers there seeing a substantial pay increase and more increases down the line.

General Motors and the United Auto Workers union have reached a tentative contract agreement that could end a six-week-old strike against Detroit automakers, according to the Associated Press.

Ford and Stellantis were the first to agree with GM being the last company to reach a deal, prompted by a major walkout at the company’s Springhill, Tenn. plant over the weekend.

The deals will last four years and eight months and include 25% general pay raises and cost of living adjustments. Combined they bring the wage increase to over 30% over the life of the contract, the Associated Press reported.