Wisconsin union membership down 11,000 in 2018

Membership down 136,000 since 2010

manufacturing activity

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:10 am

The number of workers in Wisconsin who are members of unions declined by 11,000 to 219,000 in 2018, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

manufacturing activity

Union members now make up 8.1 percent of workers in the state, compared to 8.3 percent in 2017.

The decline erases membership gains unions made in 2017 and continues a downward trend in recent years.

In 2000, union members made up 17.8 percent of the state workforce. By 2010, the state’s union membership rate declined to 14.2 percent.

During former Gov. Scott Walker’s tenure, which included the passage of Act 10 and right-to-work legislation, membership decreased by 136,000.

Nationally, the number of union members is up by 0.2 percent since 2010, compared to Wisconsin’s nearly 39 percent decrease in membership.

Union membership decreased by 73,000 in the United States from 2017 to 2018, dropping the membership rate from 10.7 to 10.5 percent.

Twenty-five states saw union membership rates decline in 2018, led by a 1.6 percentage point decrease in Nebraska. New York dropped 1.5 points, New Jersey was down 1.3 points and Illinois declined 1.2 points.

Hawaii saw the largest increase in union membership rate, up 1.8 points to 23.1 percent. Alabama also increased 1.8 points to 9.2 percent.

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Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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