Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Membership Rate Falls for U.S. Unions in 2014

Organized Labor Suffering Decadeslong Slide in Its Ranks
The rate of U.S. union membership fell slightly in 2014, continuing a trend that suggests the labor movement will have to step up efforts to rebound from its decadeslong slide.
Members of the 7,000-member Laborers Local 79 union 
take a coffee break in New York City. Photo: AP
Figures released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics said the combined rate of private- and public-sector union membership was 11.1% last year, down from 11.3% the prior year. Membership in the private sector fell to a rate of 6.6% in 2014, from 6.7%, while public-sector representation rose slightly to 35.7%, from 35.3%.
Public Union membership has been on the rise
Unions managed to collectively add about 41,000 members in the private sector, led by industries such as construction and leisure and hospitality, but it wasn’t enough to keep pace with total private-sector employment, said John Schmitt, a senior economist at the left-leaning Center for Economic and Policy Research.
“The overall workforce is growing faster than the union workforce,” said Mr. Schmitt, who said unions gained members in part because of workers who got new jobs in unionized facilities.
“It’s bad news for the labor movement because it shows that they are not able to rebound. Essentially, they look like they’re stuck,” said Gary Chaison, a professor of industrial relations at Clark University in Worcester, Mass.
Union membership rates declined over the year in 27 states and the District of Columbia. They rose in 18 states and were unchanged in five.
Read the rest of the story HERE.

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