Source of graphic: online version of the NYT article cited below.
Union membership dropped sharply last year in the United States, as the percentage of manufacturing workers in unions fell below the percentage of American workers in unions for the first time in modern history.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Thursday that union membership fell by 326,000 in 2006, to 15.4 million workers, bringing the percentage of employees in unions to 12 percent, down from 12.5 percent in 2005. Those figures are down from 20 percent in 1983 and from 35 percent in the 1950s.
Work force experts said the decline in union membership was caused by large-scale layoffs and buyouts in the auto industry and other manufacturing industries, together with the labor movement’s difficulties in organizing nonunion workers fast enough to offset those losses.
For the full story, see:
STEVEN GREENHOUSE. "Sharp Decline in Union Members in ’06." The New York Times (Fri., January 26, 2007): A11.