WIUM Tristates Public Radio

organized labor

Wiki Commons

In two controversial decisions this summer, the U.S. Supreme Court made it more difficult for unions to operate, and could make it more important to come up with innovative ways to do their work.

The recent release of a government report regarding the numbers and percentages of U.S. employees belonging to unions or working where unions represent them made headlines but most newscasts or stories lacked context. It’s an occasion for a statistical “status report.”

The percentage of the U.S. labor force belonging to unions fell 0.5% from 2011 to 2012, according to the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The drop went from 11.8% to 11.3% – from 14.8 million to 14.4 million Americans.