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Waning union clout

Inspired by Wisconsin's success in suppressing union power, Florida's recently convened Legislature is considering bills to weaken teachers' labor organization, restrict the political clout of all public unions, and reduce the benefits of all state workers.

Both Florida chambers are moving bills that restrict unions' collective bargaining clout — legislation backed by Republican Gov. Rick Scott.

Union representatives complain the Florida bills show the Republican-controlled Legislature is riding a nationwide anti-union sentiment.

"This is nothing more than an attempt to annihilate our voice," said Jeff McAdams, president of the Gator Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police in Gainesville.

Whatever the reasons — or whatever happens in Florida — unions are in the crosshairs.

U.S. union membership has declined . . .

Fewer private-sector workers are union members today than in decades past, while public-sector union membership has held steady.

Union membership as a percentage of all workers

. . . but remains strongest in Democratic corners

Union membership is highest in the Northeast, Upper Midwest and West Coast, all areas won by President Barack Obama in the 2008 election.

Union membership as a percentage of all workers



5 percent or less



5.1 percent to 10 percent



10.1 percent to 15 percent

More than 15 percent



Alaska



Hawaii



Alaska



Hawaii



But a recent shift to the right in some states . . .

Bolstered by tea party support, Republicans captured the House of Representatives and several governorships from Democrats.

Results from governors' races in November 2010



Republican win



Democratic win



Republican win, switch from Dem

Democratic win, switch from GOP



. . . has placed unions in the crosshairs

In the name of balancing state budgets, some Republican governors have targeted union rights. Unions are a key Democratic constituency.

Labor political donations, by party. For federal candidates, parties and political action committees; by election cycle, in millions





To Republicans

To Democrats

$80

$60

$40

$20

'90

'92

'94

'96

'98

'00

'02

'04

'06

'08

'10

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Atlas of Presidential Elections, CNN, Center for Responsive Politics

McClatchy-Tribune

Waning union clout 03/12/11 [Last modified: Saturday, March 12, 2011 3:31am]
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