IN DECLINE: Union Membership Falls in Colorado and Nationwide

This morning, Associated Press released an article highlighting the sharp decline in union membership across the country.  According to the article, membership fell from 11.8% of the working population to 11.3%, the lowest level since the 1930s, which translates to nearly 400,000 fewer members nationwide.  As Colorado typically tracks nationwide employment trends, it’s not surprising that our state also lost a significant number of union workers – 10,000 to be exact – from 2011 until 2012.

The AP attributes the decline nationally to “losses in the public sector as cash-strapped state and local governments laid off workers and – in some cases – limited collective bargaining rights.”  But, there might be a few other reasons union numbers are eroding.  The AP also noted:

“But unions also saw losses in the private sector, even as the economy expanded modestly. That rate fell of membership fell from 6.9 percent to 6.6 percent, a troubling sign for the future of organized labor, as job growth has generally taken place at nonunion firms.”

Finally, perhaps one more anecdotal reason for the decline in union membership is simply how awful they’ve behaved over the past two years or so.  Who would join a union if a “membership benefit” is a bunch of violent protesters as comrades?  Case in point:

 
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