Thursday, February 24, 2011

Here is a great summary of the latest union statistics by the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Highlights (in my humble opinion):

1. In 2010, the union membership rate--the percent of wage and salary workers who were members of a union--was 11.9 percent, down from 12.3 percent a year earlier.

2. The number of wage and salary workers belonging to unions declined by 612,000 to 14.7 million. In 1983, the first year for which comparable union data are available, the union membership rate was 20.1 percent, and there were 17.7 million union workers.

3. The union membership rate for public sector workers (36.2 percent) was substantially higher than the rate for private sector workers (6.9 percent).

4. Workers in education, training, and library occupations had the highest unionization rate at 37.1 percent.

5. In 2010, 7.6 million public sector employees belonged to a union, compared with 7.1 million union workers in the private sector.

6. The union membership rate for public sector workers (36.2 percent) was substantially higher than the rate for private sector workers (6.9 percent). Within the public sector, local government workers had the highest union membership rate, 42.3 percent.

7. Among these occupational groups: education, training, and library occupations (37.1 percent) and protective service occupations (34.1 percent) had the highest unionization rates in 2010.

8. The largest numbers of union members lived in California (2.4 million) and New York (2.0 million). About half of the 14.7 million union members in the U.S. lived in just six states (California, 2.4 million; New York, 2.0 million; Illinois, 0.8 million; Pennsylvania, 0.8 million; Ohio, 0.7 million; and New Jersey, 0.6 million), though these states accounted for only one-third of wage and salary employment nationally.

9. Texas had about one-fourth as many union members as New York, despite having 1.9 million more wage and salary employees. Similarly, North Carolina and Hawaii had comparable numbers of union members (117,000 and 111,000, respectively), though North Carolina's wage and salary employment level (3.7 million) was about seven times that of Hawaii (511,000).

Note a couple things:
- Unions are losing membership in the private sector. In fact, they have decreased to record low numbers in the private sector where they negotiate with management of for-profit companies for a piece of the profit gained through higher compensation.
- Unions are gaining membership in the public sector. In the public sector unions negotiate with who for higher compensation? They negotiate with the same government representatives they help elect. And for what? A greater piece of taxpayer money. It is my contention that it is this simple fact that has kept this gravy train going.
- Did you notice the states with the highest percentage of union representation? These are the states with the highest tax burdens and the states who are in the most dire of financial situations. Do you really believe governor "moon beam" is going to take on Richard Trumpka?
- Did you notice the states with the least representation? I don't believe it is a coincidence these are the sates to which businesses are moving. It is no coincidence that BMW, Mercedes, Hyundai, Kia and Toyota have all built new plants in right to work states in last decade.

Unions are driving businesses into the ground. They certainly played a pivotal role in our country's history. However, since the early days of unions, he now have a plethora of government agencies enforcing workers safety (OSHA), worker rights (EEOC) and environmental protection (EPA). The era of big union in the U.S. is over. They know it is over in the private sector and they are scared to death it is dying a slow death in the public sector, beginning in Wisconsin this year.

These leaders are freaking out that they may not be able to continue to earn their incredible salaries or buy their way into the White House if their membership continues to dwindle. Hence, you get them "Organizing Against American the American Taxpayer" and ground zero is Madison, Wisconsin the birthplace of AFSCME. Oh, the irony...

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