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article imageAmerican labor unions decline again

By David Denholm     Jan 21, 2011 in Business
On January 21, 2011, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its annual report on the documenting the rise and fall of unionism in American.
The release “Union Members – 2010,” reports that union lost 612,000 members in 2010. Of those losses, 339,000 were on private payrolls, while public sector unions lost 273,000 members.
According to the report, union density – the extent to which the workforce is unionized – fell from 12.3 in 2009 to 11.9 in 2010. It declined from 7.2 to 6.9 percent in the private sector and from 37.4 to 36.2 on government payrolls.
These figures continue the trend toward dominance of the union movement by government employee unions. In the union heyday of the 1950’s only about 5% of all union members worked for government. In 2010, despite the fact that only one in every six jobs are in government, fully 51% of all American union members are public employees.
It is no coincidence that two days before the release AFL-CIO president rented a podium at the National Press Club to denounce efforts to reign in government spending or that earlier this month a coalition of labor unions, including the Service Employees International Union and the National Education Association, announced a multi million dollar public relations campaign to improve the image of public workers.
The public relations campaign to improve the image of public workers is in recognition of the fact that public opinion on labor unions has suffered in recent years and that labor unions are increasingly identified with public employment. In February 2010 the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press released a report showing that a plurality of people had an unfavorable view of labor unions. On Labor Day of last year the Gallup Poll reported that only 52 percent of the public approve of labor unions. Given the fact that a majority of union members are public employees, a negative attitude about labor unions undoubtedly reflects a negative attitude about public employees.
More about Labor union, Afl-cio, Bureau labor statistics
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