15,000 labor unions profiled

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The labor union industry includes 15,000 organizations; the largest unions have annual revenue between $100 and $300 million. Major organizations include the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, the National Education Association, the Service Employees International Union Committee, and the National Association of Letter Carriers.


Business and job growth drive demand. The profitability of individual organizations depends on ability to grow membership. Large unions have stronger bargaining power and advantages in marketing and finance. Small unions can serve a local market or individuals in specialized industries or professions.


The majority of revenue comes from member dues, including fees from individual workers and other unions. Unions may also generate revenue from investment income. Industry sectors with strong union participation include government and education, training, library, and protective services.

National unions may have local, state, regional, or international chapters, also known as affiliates or delegates. Unions may belong to larger unions, such as the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO). An individual union's membership can vary: local chapters may have less than 100 members while national organizations claim millions.

Unions represent groups of workers within common industries or professions. Closed shop employers require union membership of workers, but union membership is optional in open shop employers. Some states have Right-To-Work (RTW) laws, and prohibit union membership as a condition of employment.


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