For unions in Wisconsin, a fast and hard fall since Act 10
Nationally, no state has lost more of its labor union identity than Wisconsin since 2011, a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel analysis found. Union members made up 14.2% of workers before Act 10, but just 8.3% in 2015.
The bottom line: 132,000 fewer union members, mostly teachers and other public workers — enough to fill Lambeau Field and Miller Park, with thousands more tailgating outside.
The decline has put Wisconsin, the birthplace of public-employee unions, near the bottom third of states for unionized workforce.
Wisconsin union membership down nearly 40 percent since Act 10
Union membership in Wisconsin is down nearly 40 percent since Republicans passed legislation known as Act 10 that all but eliminated collective bargaining for public workers, new federal data show.
In 2016, the percentage of public and private workers who were members of unions was 8.1 percent, or 219,000 union members. That’s down by 136,000 members, or 38.3 percent, since 2010 levels, the year before passage of Act 10, according to a report released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Comments: Image sources: Miller Park, Lambeau Field. More on 2011 Wisconsin Act 10. Opinion: It's about the freedom to NOT join a Union. It's about Right to Work. More on Wisconsin here:
Unions Suffer Latest Defeat in Midwest With Signing of Wisconsin Measure
For decades, states across the South, Great Plains and Rocky Mountains enacted policies that prevented organized labor from forcing all workers to pay union dues or fees. But the industrial Midwest resisted.
Those days are gone. After a wave of Republican victories across the region in 2010, Indiana and then Michigan enacted so-called right-to-work laws that supporters said strengthened those states economically, but that labor leaders asserted left behind a trail of weakened unions.
Now it is Wisconsin’s turn. On Monday, Gov. Scott Walker — who in 2011 succeeded in slashing collective bargaining rights for most public sector workers — signed a bill that makes his state the 25th to adopt the policy and has given new momentum to the business-led movement, its supporters say.
“This freedom-to-work legislation will give workers the freedom to choose whether or not they want to join a union, and employers another compelling reason to consider expanding or moving their business to Wisconsin,” Mr. Walker said.