Only 11.9% of workers in a union

By Associated Press
Posted Jan. 21 at 11:07 a.m.

The nation’s labor unions saw another sharp decline in membership last year even as the economic recovery began and job losses slowed.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says unions lost 612,000 members in 2010. That drops the unionized share of the work force to 11.9 percent from 12.3 percent in 2009.

Union membership in the private sector fell from 7.2 percent to 6.9 percent, a low point not seen since the infancy of the labor movement in the 1930s. The steepest decline was among construction workers.

Public employment unions saw a 1.2 percent decline, as state and local governments cut jobs. Those unions could see further declines this year as states eliminate more government jobs in an effort to balance budgets.

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  1. Starstream880 Jan. 21 at 12:04 pm

    This merely continues a long term trend. Hence union management, seeing their power base and influence erode (and their own nice pay and bennie packages)tried to ram ‘card check’ through the Demo controlled House. Even with a lopsided potential liberal vote, that measure flew like a lead brick. Fact is that outside of government and the education lobby, ever fewer Americans are interested in being “organized”, forced to join and have dues confiscated from their checks. People can see the videos of those European ‘protests’ over wage and bennie cuts driven by the massive debt crisis, and want no part of that kind of ‘representation’. Free choice like that may be unwelcome by the SEIU etc, but it is what it is. To paraphrase a song, the 50’s are gone and they ain’t comin’ back.

  2. Walt Jan. 21 at 12:08 pm

    This correlates well the decline in the American middle-class. The Republicans and their corporate masters have been waging class war on the US middle class over the last 30 years and are close to reducing us to a corporate fuedal state.
    Like weekends? – thank the unions
    Like a 8 hour day? – thank the unions
    Like a 40 hour work week? thank the unions

  3. ugggh Jan. 21 at 12:23 pm

    I think this proves Americans are too stupid to figure what is good for them. Vote Palin.

  4. Jeff Jan. 21 at 12:31 pm

    Like a failed automotive industry – thank the unions
    Like the collapse of the airline industry – thank the unions
    Like the destruction of Chicago’s Trade Show industry – thank the unions

    I am sickened to see the US become weakened by such an over-paid and outdated workforce. If Unions were relevant anymore their numbers would be growing. At least this confirms that withn the next few decades we’ll all be free of the Union Scourge.

  5. Mikey Bottoms Jan. 21 at 12:36 pm

    I think Americans proved their stupidity when they voted Stroger in ‘08 because Barack told them to.

  6. ugggh Jan. 21 at 12:40 pm

    @Jeff..Everything that is wrong is bc of unions! I also like to oversimplify things so that my political beliefs align with everything. You should ignore the fact that American cars just aren’t that good and foreign automakers have been making better, more reliable cars for a long time. Nope, that doesn’t fit you views, so let’s ignore that. Gas prices, an overabundance of airlines and a bad economy did not do anything to the airline industry. Unions again. Vegas or Chicago when it is zero degrees outside? Nope, it was unions that took away the trade shows.

    You are right. I am going to hang out at all of the mansions that union workers live in after years on the auto line. Hopefully, we can go back to a 6 day, 12 hour a day work week where children are right next to you at the plant. Now I know what good old days Republicans are referring to.

  7. position Jan. 21 at 12:44 pm

    Walt -
    That’s old. ’30s style. Try something new. This is the 21st century. Times have changed and unions haven’t adjusted to it.

    Here’s one for you…unions, what have you done for me lately? Shipped my job overseas? Outsourced my job?

  8. Jane Jan. 21 at 12:44 pm

    WALT IS ABSOLUTELY RIGHT!! There are people out there that are in a union – gladly accept overtime pay, holiday pay, and benefits from their jobs and then go ahead and vote Republican. See how STUPID some people are and have no idea what’s going on!!!

  9. position Jan. 21 at 12:47 pm

    “Walt -
    That’s old. ’30s style. Try something new. This is the 21st century. Times have changed and unions haven’t adjusted to it.

    Here’s one for you…unions, what have you done for me lately? Shipped my job overseas? Outsourced my job?”

    Unions…where were you when I needed you? Too busy taking my dues to finance Democratic candidates.

  10. Robert Jan. 21 at 12:49 pm

    Now that the mob has taken another hit from the FBI, membership should decline even further. I suppose since they drove much of our manufacturing into bankruptcy there is no place for them to go but to sign up for the government union jobs. Those will be going next.

    It is unconscionable that Illinois is still “closed shop” and that the unions would speak for me against my will. Where is the 1st amendment?

    Oh, and those that think unions gave us a 40 hour week forget that it was legislation from our representative government that actually created it. DOWN WITH THE UNIONS!

  11. Jessica Jan. 21 at 12:53 pm

    I saw on the news this morning in New York, RETIRED union employees receive $12,000 in December – BECAUSE it’s DECEMBER and they’re RETIRED.
    Are you kidding me?!?
    Each retired union employee gets paid because it’s December?! WHO made this deal and what did they get out of it in return?
    This has to stop. It’s time to let the states go bankrupt and let them restructure their contracts.
    At one time, when government employees made less money, their benefits made up for it. NOW they’re salaries are exborbatant – WAY ABOVE what the private sector is makig – AND on top of it, they get these HUGE PENSIONS and disgusting BENEFITS.
    Thank you, Government, for financially raping the American public.

  12. Michael Jan. 21 at 1:07 pm

    Now, let’s get it down to 0% union membership and then we can abolish them. Unions need to go the way of the horse and buggy.

  13. T. Whitecollar Jan. 21 at 1:11 pm

    Sure we can thank the unions… For those of us white collar workers who are already working 6 day weeks, 12 hour days we can go on strike. Oh waite someone will then fill our jobs. To the union workers that complain that their insurance costs went up 12% in 3 years with limited wage increases… For everyone not in a union, insurance costs go up every year and wage increases are never guaranteed. You live sheltered lives

  14. C Jan. 21 at 1:43 pm

    Jeff and Ugghhh…Don’t overlook the fact that these days, much of what goes running around pretending to be free-market capitalism is actually corporate-welfare, crony capitalism: in bed with government while the administration pretends to be sternly protecting us from those evil corporations it actually favors. This so distorts the market that the normal forces of supply and demand and consumer choice can’t have the competitive and corrective effect they once did.

    We need to get government out of the business of picking winners and losers, and back to simple, even-handed, level-playing-field regulation. Nobody gets bailouts, nobody is too big to fail, nobody gets their product lines mandated by congress or their sales subsidized by consumer tax breaks, nobody gets their corporate officers hand-picked by the white house or given cushy administration jobs the second they’re out. Everybody refocuses their efforts on building a better mousetrap instead of wasting time and resources trying to get ahead by gaming the system or defending against micro-meddling in their business.

  15. ColdWarVet Jan. 21 at 2:08 pm

    Then there are the Union hypocrats who scream UNION>>UNION>>>UNION and then shop at Wal-Mart. My son worked in a grocery store PT while in high school and they made him join a union and wacked him big to join. What a load, and the local union boss shows up in his suit and expensive car all paid for by the union dolts who couldn’t work on their own. Organized Labor = Organized Crime.

  16. Max Conrad Jan. 21 at 2:11 pm

    The mobster bust in NY has shown that unions are still controlled by the Mafia. The Teachers Union, well, all you have to do is look at the US School System to see how well they do their job. The union pensions funds are BEYOND broke, which goes to show how well they manage money, although well enough to buy golf courses.

  17. mike b Jan. 21 at 2:13 pm

    What is the percentage of union workers that work for the government?

  18. Caveat Emptor Jan. 21 at 3:00 pm

    The only thing I thank unions for is the “union suit”.

  19. Saa Jan. 21 at 3:17 pm

    Unions are simply outdated. People can organize just fine without them – just look at all of these successful “grass roots” movements. Heck one is responsible for Obama’s presidency so it’s not all tea party-ness. In the Economist when they profiled Chicago for the Olympics a while back they talked about how something like 80% of GOVERNMENT jobs in Chicago are union. Nice, huh? Reality hasn’t caught up with them. Well, now that the troth is empty, the union bosses will “retire” while the workers will see their pension cut again and again. Thanks union for making it impossible for the government to fire the worst crooks. I talk with some of these union guys and they said the darnedest things like “the private sector is awful, why shouldn’t the government do everything?” Welcome to reality kids.

  20. rich Jan. 21 at 3:38 pm

    Unions are not about making jobs, it more of just controling the supply of workers. The last thing unions want is more workers than jobs. Yes if a buisness can get two workers for the price of one, they will get two workers. Maybe not the happiest two workers but it better than one employee getting over pay for work and another getting a hand from the gov’t. What would have? two employed workers or one? Believe it or not, profits create jobs not loses.

  21. ed Jan. 21 at 3:52 pm

    local34 sent in so many non schooled woorkers theres 2500 members lossing their homes i man steve bart 515stockport lane schaumburg il

  22. nancy Jan. 21 at 4:08 pm

    And yet the unions run this state and their pensions are destroying the finances of Illinois. I had a Chicago teacher say to me in all seriousness and in a nice way – “well, you could get fired if you didn’t have the union”. As a business owner I thought well…………yea that’s how the real world works!

  23. BKG Jan. 21 at 5:58 pm

    The Corporate bosses are smiling. Get ready for Walmart wages, 12-hour workdays, and 6-day workweeks.

  24. Matt A Jan. 21 at 10:23 pm

    I’m from Flint, MI and I’ve seen first hand how unions destroyed GM. The best use of unions now is for lazy workers to continue to have overpayed jobs, particularly in government work. My sister in law is in management at the park district and I worked at Stroger hospital when I was in medical school; two locales for finding the laziest workers alive but they can’t be fired because of their pointless union. None of those people would have a job if they worked in the private sector…

  25. ron jerald Jan. 22 at 12:10 a.m.

    all i know is i love my union, 28 bucks an hour, 38 with benfits, i dont pay for my health insurance, union dues are about 70 bucks, not bad. i get unemployment cause its seasonal work. gauranted 8 hours after 2 hours show up time. once i put 30 years in, i retire with FULL pension. i have seniority. all you people complaining about unions are SUCKERS,and probably couldnt even be in one cause you cant stay drug free.

  26. JEB Jan. 22 at 4:59 pm

    The union has done good by me. I EARN a good dollar. Unions also helps with safety issues too. I was always told that a baseball player plays with a contract, why wouldn’t you? A CEO for a furtune 500 company works with a contract, why wouldn’t you? Now for the people that don’t think I’m worth my wage, think again, and do my job! I work for the local power company. I’m an over head linemen. I work with enough electrical power to turn dirt into glass! What makes you think you are worth what you’re worth? I mean let’s be honest, you sit behind a desk all day and watch people work. You couldn’t do my job!