Revealing Statistics –US Union Membership

Union membership hit an all-time low in 2016 according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report published Thursday. From CNBC:

Just 10.7 percent of the workforce was organized, a 0.4 percentage point annualized decline that translated to 240,000 members. The percentage has been dropping steadily since the BLS began tracking it in 1983, when the total was 20.1 percent.

Union membership rolls ended the year just under 14.6 million from a high of 17.7 million in 1983.

About a third of union membership comes from California and New York which have 4.6 million members combined. One place where union membership has been hit hard is Wisconsin. The Wisconsin State Journal reports membership is down 40% since the passage of Act 10 back in 2010:

In 2016, the percentage of public and private workers who were members of unions was 8.1 percent, or 219,000 union members. That’s down by 136,000 members, or 38.3 percent, since 2010 levels, the year before passage of Act 10, according to a report released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The Detroit News reports union membership in Michigan, “dropped from 621,000 in 2015 to 606,000 last year, going from 15.2 to 14.4 percent.” Michigan passed a right-to-work law in 2013.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce tells the Wall Street Journal union membership declined despite favorable treatment from the Obama administration:

The latest data reflect labor unions’ inability to make gains despite favorable treatment from a Democratic-controlled National Labor Relations Board, said the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which represents millions of businesses.

“Big labor’s membership rolls continue to sag for the simple reason that workers remain uninterested in the product that the unions are selling,” said Randy Johnson, senior vice president overseeing labor issues at the chamber.

UW-Madison economist Steven Deller tells the Wisconsin State Journal, “Clearly the days of barely making it out of high school but getting a union job at $30 per hour with benefits because your uncle is with the union are gone, and not coming back.”

In Canada , according to the Government of Canada, Employment and Social Development , 30% of work force pay union dues. 

 

 

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