Union Membership in U.S. Fell to a 70-Year Low Last Year
Unionization hit a 70-year low last year:
The number of American workers in unions declined sharply last year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday, with the percentage slipping to 11.9 percent, the lowest rate in more than 70 years.
The report found that the number of workers in unions fell by 612,000 last year to 14.7 million, an even larger decrease than the overall 417,000 decline in the total number of Americans working.
"It was a very tough year for unionized workers," said John Schmitt, a senior economist with the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington. "We're seeing declines in the private sector, and we're seeing declines in the public sector."
The number of private sector workers in unions fell by 339,000, to 7.1 million, while the number of public sector union members fell by 273,000, to 7.6 million.
The percentage of private sector workers in unions fell to 6.9 percent, down from 7.2 percent, the lowest rate for private sector workers in more than a century, labor historians said.
In 2009, for the first time in American history, government employees accounted for more than half the nation's union membership, but the percentage of government workers in unions fell to 36.2 percent last year, down from 37.4 percent the previous year.
January 21, 2011