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Union Membership Falls to Lowest Percentage in 76 Years

(Reuters) – The percentage of workers belonging to unions tumbled to 11.3 percent in 2012, the lowest percentage in 76 years, led by dramatic declines in states where lawmakers have put organized labor in the political crosshairs, government figures showed on Wednesday.

The total number of union members fell by nearly 400,000, from 11.8 percent of the workforce in 2011, the Labor Department report on union membership said. The rate of 11.3 percent of the workforce was the lowest since 1936, when Franklin Roosevelt was president.

Almost half the losses in the last year were in the industrial Midwest — Indiana, Wisconsin, Ohio and Michigan — where states with Republican-led governments have led an assault on unions.

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