The Bureau of Labor Statistics has just released the 2012 union membership rates and, for the most part, the numbers are sobering but not surprising. In a year in which the economy remained unsteady and labor took quite a few legislative hits on the state level, the numbers showed a decline in almost all categories. The percentage of public sector workers that were members of a union declined from 37 percent to 35.9 percent, while the private sector rate declined from 6.9 percent to 6.6 percent. Overall, this marked a decline from 11.8 percent to 11.3 percent, or approximately 400,000 workers. This decline occurred at a moment when, as Steven Greenhouse notes in his Jan. 23 New York Times article, the national economy added 2.4 million jobs. The report also provided a reminder of one of the reasons unions are necessary: union members make on average 27 percent more than their non-union counterparts. [READ MORE]
First published on the Century Foundation blog Jan. 23, 2013.
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