Unions Gain Strength in Failing State

The headline from Eric Morath’s Wall Street Journal article holds true for the country: “Share of U.S. Workers in Unions Falls to Lowest Level on Record.”

The share of American workers in unions fell to the lowest level on record in 2016, showing a return to the downward trend for organized labor after membership figures had stabilized in recent years. …

Only 10.7% of workers were union members last year, down from 11.1% in 2015, and from more than 20% in the early 1980s.

Unfortunately, the same does not hold in Rhode Island.  In our state, the percentage of “wage and salary workers” (those who work for somebody else) who are union members went up from 14.2% in 2015 to 15.5% in 2016.  Helping that percentage go up, to some degree, was the fact that the total number of workers actually dropped in Rhode Island over the year, from 483,000 to 481,000.  However, the absolute number of union members also went up.

A government stranglehold, both bolstering its employees and imposing restrictions on the private sector (often in favor of labor unions) is putting the state into a sort of death spiral as workers whose employment is either directly or indirectly subsidized by government hold on and those doing the subsidizing are finding themselves out of work… or out of the state.

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