Union membership drops nationwide, Minnesota mirrors trend

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Nationally, the total number of union members fell from 11.8 percent to 11. 3 percent of the workforce last year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statics. Reuters reports that's the lowest percentage in 76 years -- when Franklin Roosevelt was president.

MinnPost says labor unions in Minnesota also suffered declines in 2012. Roughly 14.2 percent of Minnesota workers were union members last year, down from 15.1 percent the year before.

In Wisconsin, where Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican-led Legislature stripped most state workers of collective bargaining rights in 2011, union membership fell to 11.2 percent last year, down from 13.3 percent in 2011, the Milwaukee Business Journal reported.

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Minnesota union membership on decline

As Minnesotans observe the Labor Day holiday, statistics reveal the number of union members in the state continues to erode. At its peak in 1992, the rate of union membership in Minnesota was at 22 percent. In 2011 it was at 15.1 percent, down from 15.6 percent in 2010.

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Republican Senator Dave Thompson of Lakeville is pushing a proposal that would allow Minnesota workers to opt out of unions. If lawmakers pass his "right to work" legislation, the question would appear before voters in the fall as a proposed amendment to the state Constitution.

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