Rates of union membership fell to an all time low of 10.1% in 2022, according to a Thursday report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), despite President Joe Biden’s promise to bolster American unions.
Biden pledged to “be the most pro-union president you’ve ever seen” to a group of supporters the night before the 2020 election, according to the Associated Press, and signed an executive order in April 2021 creating a task force to investigate how the federal government could increase union membership. Despite these efforts, union membership continued its long decline in 2021 and 2022 as new non-union jobs outpaced union jobs, according to the BLS.
“I campaigned to restore the backbone of this country: the middle class and unions,” Biden wrote in July 2022. “Because I know this. The middle class built America and unions build the middle class.” (RELATED: The Largest Teachers Union Is Offering A ’Race-Based Trauma’ Training Course)
Unions built the middle class in this country – and we couldn’t have gotten this infrastructure law done without them. pic.twitter.com/5MjEZpNXM0
— President Biden (@POTUS) November 20, 2021
Union membership was 10.3% in 2021, still down significantly from 20.1% in 1983, the first year this data was collected, according to the BLS. Government employees continue to make up the largest portion of union members; 33.1% of public sector workers are union members. compared to just 6% of private sector workers.
Biden’s task force made dozens of recommendations for how the federal government could help increase union membership, such as by bolstering union organizers’ access to workers on federal property and blocking employers from using money from federal contracts in anti-union activities, according to The New York Times.
Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris blamed declining union membership for stagnant wages, economic inequality, lower pay for women and people of color and the weakening of American democracy in a 2021 White House fact sheet. Biden frequently lists bolstering unions as one of his top priorities.
“More than 270,000 American workers joined unions in 2022 and Americans initiated a record number of union elections over the course of the year,” a White House spokesman told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “It’s clear that Americans expect to have rights and a voice at their workplaces. It’s also clear that unions are an integral tool achieving that. President Biden has taken historic steps to help Americans exercise their right to organize and he will continue working to eliminate barriers to workers’ ability to exercise their rights in the workplace.”
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