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Published: Saturday, 1/28/2012

Unions’ rolls grow, share of work force declines

BLADE STAFF AND NEWS SERVICES

WASHINGTON — Union membership grew by about 50,000 last year to nearly 14.8 million members, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.

The increase comes after unions lost nearly 1.4 million members over the previous two years.

Still, unions’ share of the overall work force fell, to 11.8 percent from 11.9 percent, as state and local governments trimmed thousands of jobs to address budget shortfalls. That’s the lowest percentage of union workers since the Great Depression in the 1930s. Union membership has declined steadily from its peak of about a third of all workers in the 1950s, and about 20 percent in 1983.



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