Bureau of Labor Statistics Numbers Give Picture of Progress Says Craig Leedham

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Information about Bureau of Labor Statistics Numbers Give Picture of Progress Says Craig...
News & Politics

Published on February 4, 2014

Author: CraigLeedham

Source: slideshare.net


For the first time in a number of years, the number of public-sector laborers in unions (7.2 million) is now less than the number of private-sector union members (7.3 million). The Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics branch reports that while the percentage of total workers in unions (11.3%) didn’t change from 2012, the balance has shifted as labor unions made inroads into the manufacturing, health-care, food service, and construction industries while public-sector workers suffered job losses due to budget constraints. San Diego's Craig Leedham explains

Bureau  of  Labor  Statistics  Numbers   Give  Picture  of  Progress   By  Craig  Leedham   January  24,  2014     For  the  first  time  in  a  number  of   years,  the  number  of  public-­‐sector   laborers  in  unions  (7.2  million)  is   now  less  than  the  number  of   private-­‐sector  union  members  (7.3   million).  The  Labor  Department’s   Bureau  of  Labor  Statistics  branch   reports  that  while  the  percentage  of   total  workers  in  unions  (11.3%)   didn’t  change  from  2012,  the   balance  has  shifted  as  labor  unions   made  inroads  into  the   manufacturing,  health-­‐care,  food  service,  and  construction  industries  while  public-­‐ sector  workers  suffered  job  losses  due  to  budget  constraints.     2012  was  a  rough  year  for  unions,  with  the  largest  drop  in  memberships  in  six   years,  reaching  the  lowest  percentage  of  unionized  labor  since  World  War  II.  In  the   last  fifty  years  or  so,  we’ve  usually  seen  public-­‐sector  unions  expanding,  accounting   for  the  overall  growth  and  stability  of  the  labor  movement.  While  overall  numbers   remained  consistent  in  2013,  this  year  marks  a  reversal  of  that  trend.  We  lost  about   120,000  members  in  the  public  sector  (-­‐1.6%)  and  gained  roughly  280,000  in  the   private  sector  (+4%)  as  industries  continually  recover  from  the  2007-­‐2009   recession.     After  the  density  change,  35.3%  of  workers  in  the  public  sector  are  unionized,  while   6.7%  are  in  the  private  sector.  And  across  the  board,  the  Bureau  of  Labor  Statistics’   report  shows  that  full-­‐time  union  workers  are  earning  higher  wages  than  their  non-­‐ union  counterparts,  and  receiving  better  benefits  like  health  insurance  and   retirement  plans.     The  fact  that  the  membership  rate  has  stayed  the  same  is  a  good  sign  for  unionized   labor–hopefully  it  means  the  bleeding  has  stopped  since  the  recession.  However,  the   stagnant  numbers  also  shows  there’s  lots  of  room  for  improvement.  The  alt  labor   movement  could  be  perfectly  placed  to  help  stimulate  growth  in  both  sectors  and   get  the  job  market  back  on  track.      

Craig  Leedham  currently  resides  in  San  Diego,  CA.  His  professional  career  spans  work   in  academic  research  and  sociology,  as  well  as  professional  experience  in  applied   research  and  organized  labor.  Leedham  co-­‐authored  three  editions  of  a  leading   undergraduate  textbook  in  sociology,  as  well  as  applying  his  academic  interests  in   social  movements  and  social  research  in  a  number  of  professional  contexts  that   include  work  with  state  government  in  Washington,  two  research  universities   (Colorado  State  University  and  Arizona  State  University),  and  numerous  education   labor  associations.      

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