Union membership in Pennsylvania declined sharply last year, following a trend that brought the national rate to its lowest level since the 1930s.
Government figures released Wednesday showed union membership in the state shrank from 14.6 percent of the workforce to 13.5 percent. Nationally, membership declined from 11.8 percent to 11.3 percent as cash-strapped state and local governments shed workers and unions had difficulty organizing new members in the private sector.
In the Pennsylvania Capitol, Republican state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe this week launched his perennial “right to work” campaign to ban mandatory union membership.
Rick Bloomingdale, the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO president, says the federal figures reflect the loss of about 50,000 union members. Bloomingdale says he hopes to rebuild the membership through manufacturing and other “middle-class sustaining jobs.”