SALEM, Ore. (AP) -- Figures recently released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that union members make up 17 percent of all workers in Oregon, seventh-highest in the nation.

The national average is about 12 percent.

The total number of union workers in Oregon increased last year to 270,000.

An associate professor and director of the Labor Education and Research Center at the University of Oregon, Bob Bussel, told the Statesman Journal the increase is largely due to efforts by the Service Employees International Union to organize workers in home health care and nursing.

SEIU Local 503 Executive Director Heather Conroy estimates her union now represents nearly one-third of the workers in Oregon nursing homes.

Overall, SEIU's membership has doubled during the past decade to 52,000.

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