Indiana Union Membership At Two-Decade Low, Leaders Say Pandemic May Change That

Feb 5, 2021

Union workers at a car rally outside the Indiana Statehouse last summer.
Credit (Justin Hicks/IPB News)

The number of Hoosiers who are members of labor unions is at its lowest point in two decades, even as workplace safety issues in the pandemic may be sparking more interest in organized labor.

In 2000, almost 1 in 5 employed Hoosiers were members of a labor union. But new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates fewer than 1 in 10 workers were union members in 2020. Meanwhile across the nation, union membership grew for the first time after a long period of decline.

Indiana State AFL-CIO President Brett Voorhies says despite the decline in actual members, he’s seen a surge of workers in the past year interested in forming unions.

"I think you're going to see those numbers – next year – be pretty good," he said. "Organizing right now is just freaking amazing. People are wanting unions."

READ MORE: Bill Takes Aim At Teacher Unions, Adding Extra Steps To Collect Dues

Indiana is one of about two dozen so-called "right-to-work" states that makes it illegal to require union membership for employment. 

Contact reporter Justin at jhicks@wvpe.org or follow him on Twitter at @Hicks_JustinM.