Just last week the Bureau of Labor Statistics released their report of 2011 union membership rates and trends.  This year’s statistics are not really much of a surprise.  The trend in the last several years has pointed to a decrease in percentage of employees with union membership, but most of these union members are employed in the public sector.  Overall, the percent of unionized workers fell from 11.9% in 2010 to 11.8% in 2011. This may not seem like a large portion, but it follows trends that we have seen over the last several years.

This past year public-sector workers had a membership rate of 37%, which is 5 times that of the private sector, coming in at 6.9%. We can see that there are not as many benefits provided by unions to help those working in the private sector.  And we all know there are a greater number of workers in the private sector than the public in the U.S.  This year’s report shows that those who are represented the highest in unions are local government worker, including teachers, police, and firefighters.  43.2% of these people are dues paying union members. 

With these numbers coming in, we can expect to see a great push for government workers unionization.  Because big labor sees that the largest number of their supporters work for the government, we can expect to see their support for the current administration’s effort to expand the size of government.  These numbers are important to those of us who don’t want to see the government expand just to assuage the desires of labor groups. 

It seems rather clear that this trend is not ending any time soon, and that we can expect to see this continue over the next several years.  President Obama’s administration has been very obvious in their support for big labor, and with this report we can expect another round of regulations to hurt American workers and helping union organizers.