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Idaho union membership continued decline in 2012

By Staff Writer
Published On: Mar 21 2013 02:58:02 PM CDT
Updated On: Mar 21 2013 04:17:12 PM CDT
BOISE, Idaho -

Only 4.8 percent of Idaho workers belonged to a trade union last year, down three tenths of a percent from 2011.  According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the nationwide average is 11.3 percent. 

29,000 Idaho workers reported union membership.  The state ranked 44th in the nation in union membership percentage.  The states with lower union membership were North Carolina, South Carolina, Arkansas, Mississippi, Georgia, and Virginia.

Under Idaho's "right-to-work" law, workers are not required to belong to a labor union. 

According to the Idaho Department of Labor, the state's union membership approached 25 percent in 1964, but fell to 9.6 percent in 1985 when the "right-to-work" law was approved by voters. 

The rate climbed back to 10.2 percent in 1993, then began a steady decline.

Union membership jumped nearly two percentage points after the recession in 2008, fell to 6.3 percent in 2009, then hit 7.1 percent in 2010.

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