Labor

Government reports uptick in union membership

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Private-sector union membership may be bouncing back after years of decline, according to new government statistics.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) announced Thursday that private-sector union membership ticked up slightly, to 6.7 percent of workers, in 2015. That’s an increase of nearly 200,000 workers.

In 2014, only 6.6 percent of private-sector workers belonged to a union.

Business groups attribute the growth to policies from the Obama administration that are friendly to the labor community.

“Union membership is apparently receiving a boost from an activist National Labor Relations Board,” said Richard Berman, executive director of the conservative Center for Union Facts. “By tilting the scales in favor of labor organizers, the board and the sympathetic Obama administration are propping up Big Labor rather than helping the rank-and-file.”

However, overall union membership remained unchanged, at 11.1 percent of all workers, according to the agency. 

The vast majority of union members come from the public sector, where 35.2 percent of workers are organized.

Union membership has dipped over the past three decades. In 1983, 20.1 percent of all workers were in a union.

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