Employing 80% of Industry, Open Shop Preferred Choice

Merit shop employees comprise an impressive 80 percent of the construction workforce in Massachusetts, according to 2008 data, the latest from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau. Open shop works for the majority of construction workers, and it will work for you.

Study the numbers

If you are given numbers about the makeup of the construction industry, please remember to consider the source. Is the source independent and reliable? Does the source have a conflict of interest?

Because of these considerations, the Merit Construction Alliance relies on independent, third-party data about construction workers in Massachusetts. The only reliable source of the data is from the Current Population Survey, a joint effort by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts does not track this data, nor is there any other reliable, independent source for this information.

We believe these are the only reliable figures because they do not involve self-reporting or counting by parties interested in inflating membership numbers. The data is publicly available and easily understood on an independent website,, which describes itself as:

The Union Membership and Coverage Database, available at, is an Internet data resource providing private and public sector labor union membership, coverage, and density estimates compiled from the Current Population Survey (CPS), a monthly household survey, using BLS methods. Economy-wide estimates are provided beginning in 1973; estimates by state, detailed industry, and detailed occupation begin in 1983; and estimates by metropolitan area begin in 1986. The Database, constructed by Barry Hirsch (Georgia State University) and David Macpherson (Florida State University), is updated annually.

The MCA updates its materials annually to reflect the latest available data.