Union membership down almost 40 percent in Wisconsin

Jan 28, 2017, 00:43
Union membership down almost 40 percent in Wisconsin

While most labor leaders supported Hilary Clinton in the election, Trump's message about jobs and protecting American workers appealed to their members, many of whom voted Trump. NY state had the highest union membership rate (24 percent), followed by Georgia (19.9 percent) and Alaska (18.5 percent). Just 6.4 percent of non-government employees pay union dues or fees, a 30 percent drop from 2000.

Just 6.4 percent of private-sector workers were union members, while more than five times that, 34.4 percent, of public sector workers were 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.

Union membership in Wisconsin has declined almost 40 percent since legislation was passed that gutted collective bargaining for public workers, according to federal data. With 14.6 million union members, the USA now has 3.1 million fewer than it did when reliable data begins in 1983, when one in five workers belonged. With no power to bargain over workplace rules or anything meaningful related to salaries, membership in the statewide teachers' union and unions for state employees plummeted.

The analysis does not go into the reasons why union membership has declined.

Union membership hits new low

The union membership rate fell below 11 percent nationwide in 2016, a drop of almost half a percentage point from 2015. Twenty-seven states have right-to-work laws on the books, after Kentucky passed a version earlier this year.

About a third of union membership comes from California and NY which have 4.6 million members combined. Unionized federal government workers had a median weekly salary of $1,188, while state union jobs paid $883 and local government positions had a salary of $817.

"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.

Older workers are most likely to be members of unions, while new entrants into the work force are least likely.

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