The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released a report Jan. 23 showing a drop in union membership from 14 percent to 13.2 percent in the U.S. private construction industry from 2011 to 2012. Today 86.8 percent of the private construction workforce chooses not to belong to a union.

With a loss of 54,000 members, just 820,000 construction workers are union members, reaching the second lowest total since BLS started tracking this information in 1973. The only year to record a lower number was in 2010, when just 801,000 construction workers belonged to a union.

Government data for state-specific union membership information for various industries, including construction (see table II), is available at

The decline in overall construction union membership may affect the public policy debate surrounding government-mandated project labor agreements (PLAs) and President Obama’s pro-PLA Executive Order 13502

“In 2013, expect special interests and their political allies to turn up the heat on PLA decision-makers to ensure more PLAs are mandated on federal construction projects and other private, local and state projects receiving federal assistance,” said ABC’s Director of Federal Procurement and Labor Affairs, Ben Brubeck.

For more information about government-mandated PLAs, visit, and To help ABC continue to ensure fair and open competition on federal, state and local construction projects funded by taxpayer dollars, make a donation at