Union participation declines in U.S.

Published 01/24 2013 05:15PM

Updated 01/24 2013 05:42PM

Update: 5:17 pm, 1/24/13, Thursday
SPRINGFIELD -- New numbers show unions in Illinois aren't as strong as they used to be. Labor groups here lost almost 75,000 members last year. That's the biggest drop in the country.

Experts blame the weak economy. Less spending means more layoffs for public workers. The same goes for the private sector. Business leaders say they'd rather spend money on their companies than union fees.

Labor groups say having strong unions helps keep the economy strong. There are currently 800,000 union workers in the state. It's the third highest in the U.S.

Original: 10:45 pm, 1/23/13, Wednesday

NATIONAL -- Union workers are getting hard to find around the U.S., especially in Illinois. A study by the Department of Labor shows union membership is on the decline.

Only 11.3% of workers in the nation are in a union. That's nearly half the number from 30 years ago.

In Illinois, a little more than 800,000 are union workers. That's 75,000 fewer than last year.

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