The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

February 25, 2010
Column Extra: Union membership stats

With just 400 to 450 words for our Thursday State Worker column, much of what we learn in the ramp up to writing it never sees print. Column Extras give you some of the notes, the quotes, the documents and the observations that don't make the cut.

This week's column looks at private sector and public sector union membership trends and notes how the falling numbers in the former are affecting political fortunes of the latter.

Our numbers come from federal statistics sliced and diced by Barry T. Hirsch and David A. Macpherson at

The data they compile includes union statistics by metro area and state. In the Sacramento region the union membership numbers looked like this:

Public: 138,339
Private: 68,175

Public: 119,700
Private: 70,488

California's numbers:

Public: 1,405,524
Private: 1,334,376

Public: 1,320,024
Private: 1,133,354

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at


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