An article from the Associated Press on October 16, 2005, discusses some of the latest contributors to the losses in union membership: competition in a global economy, deregulation, powerful corporations like WalMart, disagreements between unions, declaration of corporate bankruptcies, and job outsourcing. (The article did not mention the lack of interest or concerns by workers as contributors.) This loss of membership is detailed in Labor Market Reporter: US Trade Union Membership: 1900-1999. As a percentage of the workforce, union membership peaked around 1960 and has declined to one fourth of that.
According to another report from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, “In 2004, 12.5 percent of wage and salary workers were union members, down from 12.9 percent in 2003, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The union membership rate has steadily declined from a high of 20.1 percent in 1983, the first year for which comparable union data are available.”