Declining Union Membership
“Over the last three decades, U.S. labor union membership has fallen by nearly half, even though more Americans are actually in favor of unionization.
“Some 11% of all wage and salary workers in 2014 were in a union — down from 22% in 1983 after peaking at nearly 35% in 1954, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data analyzed in a report from the Pew Research Center, a Washington, D.C.-based nonpartisan think tank. The decline of organized labor has affected nearly all occupational groups, but not uniformly, according to BLS data. The biggest declines, in fact, have come in occupations that were — and still are — among the most unionized in the country, especially those dominated by the private sector such as construction, transportation and maintenance and repair. “More jobs require a college education,” says Harry Holzer, economist at the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University, “and those jobs are traditionally less likely to be unionized.”
“And yet most Americans are not sure this is a good thing, a separate Pew survey of 1,500 adults found. Some 52% say the decline in union representation has been mostly bad for workers, compared with 40% who say it has been mostly good. What’s more, the balance of opinion on this question is about the same as it was in a 1994 NBC/Wall Street Journal survey that asked about the previous 20 years. Among Democrats, support for the ability to form a union ranges from 77% for fast-food workers to 92% for manufacturing and factory workers; among Republicans, 71% say factory and manufacturing workers should be able to unionize, but only 46% say fast-food workers should be able to unionize.”
Text from Quentin Fottrell’s “Labor Union Membership in the U.S. Is Down to Just 11%.” MarketWatch 27 Apr. 2015: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/labor-union-membership-in-the-us-continues-to-nosedive-2015-04-27