List of U.S. Labor Unions
Although it was once viewed by some as a criminal conspiracy, the U.S. labor movement has grown to include millions of members. Today, federal and state laws recognize the right of many types of workers to form a union, join an existing union, and be free from employer retaliation for exercising their labor rights.
What Is a Labor Union?
A labor union is an organization of workers who use collective bargaining to negotiate with employers for improvements to wages, benefits, working conditions, and other common interests. Members often belong to the same type of trade, but a union may also represent people in many different industries. You can probably find a union that represents people like you, or you can try to form your own union.
List of Unions in the U.S.
Unions range in size, from less than a hundred union members to millions. They also cover a wide array of industries, including musicians, machinists, football players, and marine engineers. Below is a list of some of the largest unions in the U.S., although it is by no means exhaustive.
- National Education Association (over 3 million members): Advocates for education professionals and for the cause of public education.
- Service Employees International Union (over 2 million members): Dedicated to improving the lives of workers, including nurses, health care professionals, public employees, and workers in the hotel, restaurant, and hospitality industries.
- American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees: Largest public services employees’ union.
- American Federation of Teachers: Union of professionals who advocate for quality public education, healthcare, and public service.
- Teamsters: Works to organize and educate workers toward a higher standard of living. Membership includes freight drivers, warehouse workers, nurses, and many others.
- United Food and Commercial Workers International Union: Union of workers in the grocery, retail, packing, processing, chemical, cannabis, and distillery industries.
- United Steel Workers: Covers many industries and strives to improve the lives of workers within the union, at work, in the courts, and through political activism.
- International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers: Covers a variety of industries including utilities, construction, telecommunications, broadcasting, manufacturing, railroads, and government. Advocates for better wages, benefits, and rights.
- Laborers’ International Union of North America: Union of construction workers who fight for better pay, benefits, and working conditions.
- International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers: Advocates for increased job security, higher wages, and improved benefits for workers.
- Communications Workers of America: Represents public and private sector employees in a variety of industries including news media, education, law enforcement, telecommunications and information technology, and manufacturing.
- United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America: Trains, educates, and represents professionals in the construction and wood-products industries.
- United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America: Works to secure economic and social justice for all people.
- International Union of Operating Engineers: Advocates for better wages, healthcare benefits, and other causes for operating engineers, health industry workers, and public employees.
- United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry: Represents plumbers, pipefitters, sprinkler fitters, service technicians, and welders.
- Unite Here: Seeks to achieve greater equality and opportunity for those in the airport, food service, gaming, hotels, transportation, and textile, manufacturing, and distribution industries.
- National Association of Letter Carriers: Works to protect job quality for city delivery letter carriers.
- American Postal Workers Union: Advocates for better wages, benefits, and working conditions for employees of the United States Postal Service.
- International Association of Firefighters: Seeks to protect the interests of full-time professional firefighters and paramedics.
- International Longshore and Warehouse Union: Represents longshoremen at all West Coast ports.
Additional unions include the following:
- National Postal Mail Handlers
- American Federation of Government Employees
- American Nurses Association
- International Union of Painters and Allied Trades
- Transport Workers Union of America
- International Alliance of Theatrical State Employees
- National Football League Players Association
- United Farm Workers
Although union membership in the private sector has been declining, it remains strong in the public sector. Regardless of the type of work you do, you can probably find a union that represents the interests of people in your industry.
Understand Your Rights as a Worker
Whether you’re a card-carrying union member or you’re just wondering what your rights are, an experienced attorney can help ensure your interests are protected. Contact a local labor attorney today to learn more about unions, your rights as a member, and laws designed to protect people like you.