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Despite assaults, unionization rates hold steady
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While Republicans Governors and legislatures in the United States mounted a withering attack on public sector workers in 2011, rates of unionization among workers in the country remained steady, with some potentially positive signs for the future.

John Schmitt and Jannelle Jones from the Center for Economic Policy and Research broke down the numbers (reporduced in a post on truth-out.org over the weekend). In the public sector, the number of union members declined slightly in 2011, but union density went up. In the private sector, which has seen a greater decline in union members and union density over the years, the number of union members went up with union density holding steady.

The numbers indicate that even though there are fewer union jobs in the public sector, union jobs are being cut at a lower rate than nonunion positions. The increase in the number of union jobs in the private sector is also a positive indicator that anti-union efforts were not as successful in 2011.

Time will tell if the numbers indicate a reaction to attacks on union rights, which exploded on the public scene in Wisconsin and other states early in 2011 or a manifestation of the same frustration with economic inequality that spurred the "Occupy" movements later in the year. But they are good news for American workers.

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