WASHINGTON, D.C. – Union membership rates increased in 11 of 24 workplace freedom states in 2013, undermining Big Labor’s insistence that workplace freedom is “union-busting.”

Workplace freedom — also referred to as Right to Work — laws protect workers from being fired for refusing to pay union dues or “fair share” fees. Because workplace freedom makes unions more accountable to workers, union bosses fight it tooth and nail.

Oklahoma, Indiana, and Michigan have all enacted workplace freedom laws since 2000; how do trends in these states fit with the union narrative? The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its 2013 report on union membership last week.

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Indiana adopted workplace freedom in 2012, and union membership increased to 9.3 percent of workers last year after a drop from 11.3 to 9.1 percent the year before.

Oklahoma, which passed a workplace freedom law in 2001, saw union membership remain steady in 2013 at 7.5 percent of the employed, after an increase from 6.4 percent in 2011 to 7.5 percent in 2012.

Michigan’s workplace freedom law took effect last spring, and the state recorded a drop in union membership to 16.3 from 16.6 percent of workers after a steeper decline from 17.5 percent in 2011. Nearly 22 percent of Michigan workers were union members in 2003.

Last year’s union gains in workplace freedom states Alabama (1.5 percent), Nebraska (1.3 percent), and Tennessee (1.3 percent) all topped the 1.2 percent membership rate increase in Illinois, the forced unionism state whose union membership rate increased the most.

Of the 26 states where the rate of union membership declined in 2013, 14 were forced unionism states and 12 were workplace freedom states.

Like Oklahoma, forced-union Ohio had no change in the percentage of workers who were union members last year. The same unions that spent $40 million blocking public union reform in Ohio in 2011 are now fighting to kill workplace freedom.

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In Wisconsin, another forced-union state national labor unions flooded to fight public union reform in 2011, there was a 1.1 percent increase in union membership in 2013 according to BLS.

Because some of Wisconsin’s most powerful unions have lost members as a result of the government worker protections in Republican Governor Scott Walker’s Act 10, the BLS figure has prompted questions from the free market MacIver Institute and others.

From 2003-2013, workplace freedom states Alabama, Oklahoma, and Nevada were among only 7 states where the rate of union membership increased.

Of the 7 states whose union membership rates decreased the most from 2003-2013, 6 were forced unionism states — and the seventh was Michigan.

Union membership still remains much lower in most workplace freedom states than in Big Labor strongholds, though workplace freedom does nothing to make forming or joining a union more difficult.

Union bosses in states such as New York and California have far more money to spend demonizing any reform that could threaten their cash flow, and also have larger captive audiences of members to pound with union propaganda.

Data from BLS follow. Workplace freedom states are indicated in bold.

 

State Percent of employed
who are members
of unions
Change, 2012-2013 Change, 2003-2013
AK 23.1% 0.7% 0.8%
AL 10.7% 1.5% 2.6%
AR 3.5% 0.3% -1.3%
AZ 5.0% -0.1% -0.2%
CA 16.4% -0.8% -0.4%
CO 7.6% -0.2% -0.2%
CT 13.5% -0.5% -1.9%
DE 10.3% -0.1% -1.1%
FL 5.4% -0.4% -0.7%
GA 5.3% 0.9% -1.4%
HI 22.1% 0.5% -1.7%
IA 10.1% -0.3% -1.4%
ID 4.7% -0.1% -2.3%
IL 15.8% 1.2% -2.1%
IN 9.3% 0.2% -2.5%
KS 7.5% 0.7% -0.4%
KY 11.2% 1.2% 0.8%
LA 4.3% -1.9% -2.2%
MA 13.7% -0.7% -0.5%
MD 11.6% 1.0% -2.7%
ME 11.1% -0.4% -1.7%
MI 16.3% -0.3% -5.6%
MN 14.3% 0.1% -2.7%
MO 8.6% -0.3% -4.6%
MS 3.7% -0.6% -1.3%
MT 13.0% -0.9% -1.0%
NC 3.0% 0.1% -0.1%
ND 6.4% 0.3% -0.9%
NE 7.3% 1.3% -0.6%
NH 9.6% -0.9% 0.3%
NJ 16.0% -0.1% -3.5%
NM 6.2% -0.3% -1.4%
NV 14.6% -0.1% 0.2%
NY 24.4% 1.2% -0.2%
OH 12.6% 0.0% -4.1%
OK 7.5% 0.0% 0.7%
OR 13.9% -1.8% -1.8%
PA 12.7% -0.8% -2.4%
RI 16.9% -0.9% -0.1%
SC 3.7% 0.4% -0.5%
SD 4.8% -0.8% -0.6%
TN 6.1% 1.3% -1.4%
TX 4.8% -0.9% -0.8%
UT 3.9% -1.3% -1.3%
VA 5.0% 0.6% -1.5%
VT 10.9% 0.2% 1.2%
WA 18.9% 0.4% -0.8%
WI 12.3% 1.1% -3.6%
WV 12.7% 0.6% -0.4%
WY 5.7% -1.0% -2.3%

 

Authored by Jason Hart – Media Trackers