- The Washington Times - Friday, January 24, 2014

Labor union membership rose slightly in 2013, according to new government statistics released Friday that showed at least a temporary reprieve in the long-term travails for the labor movement.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics said that 14.528 million people belonged to unions, or up more than 150,000 from the level in 2012. As a percentage of the labor force, union members were 11.3 percent in 2013, which was unchanged from a year earlier.

Public-sector unions continued to take a hit, falling to 7.2 million members, which is down from a peak of 7.9 million in 2009, or just as the economic slowdown began to cut into state, local and federal governments’ budgets. In 2013 alone, public-sector unions lost nearly 120,000.

But private-sector union membership grew by nearly 300,000 employees.

Unionized workers continue to earn more than non-unionized employees, according to the data, which showed union workers’ median pay was $944 a week, while non-union employees earned $750.

But over the last decade they’ve kept pace, with media weekly pay for both groups growing by 25 percent since 2003.

Overall union membership peaked at 35 percent in the 1950s.