The long slide continues in the private sector, and now even public-sector union ranks are shrinking. A friendly White House can't save a movement that prices its members out of the market.
Organized labor showed last year that it can still come out on the winning side in elections. It got the president it wanted and, in California, engineered a big tax hike on the rich.
But after seeing the latest union membership data, labor leaders have to wonder if 2012 was their last hurrah. They may have a friend in the White House, but they continue to lose the loyalty of American workers.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Wednesday that union membership fell by 400,000 last year despite a rise of 2.4 million in the total number of people employed. The percentage of workers in unions fell to 11.3%, from 11.8% the year before.
In the private sector, membership dropped to 6.6% from 6.9%. Outside longtime big-labor strongholds such as telecom and the auto industry, unions are no longer significant players in private industry.
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