The Economist Misses Key Government Union Statistic
The Economist’s January 6th print edition has a great article on “The Battle Ahead” about public sector unions that includes these facts:
While union membership has collapsed in the private sector over the past 30 years (from 44% of the workforce to 15% in Britain and from 33% to 15% in America), it has remained buoyant in the public sector. In Britain over half the workers are unionised. In America the figure is now 36% (compared with just 11% in 1960).
This is all true, but The Economist left out one little fact that could have bolstered their story: 2010 was the first year ever in America that government union workers were a majority of all union workers. The Heritage Foundation’s James Sherk reported in January 2010:
52 percent of all union members work for the federal or state and local governments, a sharp increase from the 49 percent in 2008. A majority of American union members are now employed by the government; three times more union members now work in the Post Office than in the auto industry