Professionals drove union membership gains in 2015. Over 300,000 new union members in professional and technical occupations joined the labor movement in 2015, according to data from the Current Population Survey. Union membership density in professional and technical occupations rose from 11.9 percent in 2014 to 12 percent in 2015. In 2015, union members in a professional or technical occupation made up 41.5 percent of all union members, up from 40 percent in 2014. Professional and technical occupation employment grew 4.2 percent in the U.S. from 2014 to 2015.
The DPE launched new initiatives to aid affiliate organizing and influence the conversation on issues important to professionals. The DPE hosted a meeting on intellectual property and copyright protections. DPE continued to play an active but, unfortunately, a defensive role in the area of high-tech guest worker visa programs. DPE produced a new fact sheet on the future of work and workers for professionals, and published a Guide to Organizing Professionals. Recently, the DPE held the first of a series of meetings on “The Changing Working Environment for Professional and Technical Workers.”