National education and labor news

Unionized workforce sees slight decline in 2018

Slightly fewer U.S. workers belonged to a labor union in 2018 than in 2017. The small decline occurred in a period in which intensifying labor activism powered a wave of strikes by teachers and a multi-state strike by unionized workers at the Marriott hotel chain. Unions also faced an all-out assault as the Supreme Court in June ruled against unions in the pivotal Janus v. AFSCME case.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of unionized workers dropped from 14.8 million in 2017 to 14.7 million in 2018, or 10.5 percent of the workforce. The number of private sector workers in a union grew by 18,000, while the number in the public sector fell by 80,000.

The AFL-CIO, which represents 55 unions, pointed out that public approval of unions has reached record highs in recent years and praised the resilience of unions facing “unprecedented attacks.”

Huffington Post, Jan. 18

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