U.S. Union Membership the The Lowest It’s Been Since 1916

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the total number of United States workers in unions has fallen by 400,000 since last year, leaving them at 11% unionized.  This is due in part to the expansion of service-industry jobs such as food service and retail, and also the new laws put into place in many states on workers’ rights.

 

“The figures announced by the bureau point to grave problems for the future of organized labor. The portion of private sector workers in unions fell to just 6.6 percent last year, from 6.9 percent in 2011, causing some labor specialists to question whether private sector unions were sinking toward irrelevance. Private sector union membership peaked at around 35 percent in the 1950s.

 

The report showed particular drops in union membership in two groups where unions have long been strong: local government employees and manufacturing workers.

 

Union membership showed sharp drops in Wisconsin, which passed a law in 2011 curbing the collective bargaining rights of many public employees, and in Indiana, which enacted a right-to-work law last February that may have prompted many workers to drop their union membership.”

 

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