The Washington Times carried an interesting story by Sam Hananel of the Associated Press (Monday, January 24, 2011, p. A3) describing the latest figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on union membership.

Here were some important facts that will have an impact on politics in the years to come:

  • Unions lost 612,000 members in 2010 bringing the unionized percentage of the work force down to 11.9%. This continues a steady decline from the 1950s when more than a third of American workers belonged to unions.
  • In the private sector, union membership is down to 6.9%. This level is described as a low point not seen since the infancy of the labor movement in the 1930s.
  • Even public sector unions saw a 1.2% decline with more possible as government budgets are cut to make up for massive budget deficits in some states.
  • An illustrative point that shows the economic vitality of the New South versus the industrial north: New York had the highest union membership rate at 24.2 percent and North Carolina had the lowest at 3.2 percent.

Also, related to political analysis as union membership decreases, total dues that can be used for political purposes will also decline. This will help the GOP in the long run.