The Bottom Falls Out

Union membership dropped sharply in 2010

The latest BLS figures on union membership came out today. For union officials and supporters, the results are grim.

During 2010, employment in Michigan actually ticked up slightly according to BLS, as the state added 21,000 jobs (not an especially impressive number, as there are 3.8 million jobs in the state), but unions in Michigan lost 83,000 members, a decline in membership of 11.7 percent.

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Nationwide, unions lost over 600,000 members in 2010, or 4.1 percent of their membership from the prior year.

It is hard to avoid the conclusion that in terms of saving or creating jobs in a tough economy, unions do more harm than good.

This is hardly a new development, but is the latest in a long trend. Ordinarily, one would expect results like this to trigger a period of soul-searching and a shift in tactics, but it would appear that the current corps of union leaders place a higher value on ideological conformity than on economic understanding. The result is a lot of lost jobs among union members.

Workers, in Michigan and across the country, have lost their confidence in the union establishment. That loss of faith, reflected in declining membership and growing support for right-to-work, is entirely understandable.