January 23, 2013
2012 Union Density
The Department of Labor released its data on union density for 2012 and the news was not good for unions. Among the highlights (or lowlights, depending on your view): private sector membership dropped from 6.9% to 6.6%; public sector membership dropped from 37% to 35.9%; and the number of union members fell by 400,000, despite a 2.4 million increase in jobs. Moreover, both Wisconsin and Indiana saw huge drops following their anti-union legislation. Steven Greenhouse, at the New York Times, has a good article exploring those state issues as well as the overall trend.
For those of you interested in comparing the historical numbers and other breakouts of the data, I'll put a plug in for unionstats.com (full disclosure: my father is one of the authors), which provides a more user-friendly version of the DOL stats (it obviously hasn't been updated with the new numbers yet).
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