Labor union membership declined again in 2010:
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.
In the private sector, union membership is down to 6.9 percent, “a low point not seen since the infancy of the labor movement in the 1930s.” Unions continue to thrive only in monopoly environments, like professional sports and government.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics site contains more detail. Most notably, a majority of all union members are now in the public sector–7.6 million out of 14.7 million. It is also significant that union membership is highest among older workers and lowest among the youngest.
Democrats in Washington had hoped to bolster union membership (and thereby, contributions to their coffers) by doing away with the secret ballot so that unions could more effectively coerce unwilling workers to vote for union representation. But they couldn’t get that anti-democratic measure through Congress even when they controlled both houses; they certainly can’t do it now. So unions–in the private sector, anyway–continue to dwindle into irrelevance.