DPE launched a number of projects this year to assist affiliate organizing, continued its efforts to look at the future of work, and kicked off 2016 with a new logo and improved communication tools, including a new brochure and folder inserts that detail DPE’s work. DPE’s work this year helped its affiliates understand how the workforce and the labor movement has changed and how their unions can best be positioned to organize new members. DPE’s organizing materials and sector-specific reports come at a time when professionals are expanding their foothold within the labor movement. In 2015, over 300,000 new professionals joined the labor movement, the only area of growth for labor.
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.