Wisconsin sees largest union membership decline in U.S.

The number of employees belonging to a union in Wisconsin dropped by 83,000 in 2015, leaving just 8.3% of workers in the state as union members, according to data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

BizTimes.com reported the change was the largest drop of any state in the country. The national percentage of wage and salary union workers was unchanged from the previous year at 11.1%.

In 2014, Wisconsin had 306,000 union members and a total of 327,000 represented by unions, 11.7% and 12.5% rates respectively. In 2015 those numbers were down to 223,000 union members and a total of 253,000 represented by unions. Wisconsin’s rate of union membership fell to 32nd in the nation in 2015 after ranking 19th in 2014.

As recently as 2005 there were 410,000 union members accounting for 16.1% of the state workforce.

Nationally, New York continued to have the highest percentage of union membership, at 24.7%, while South Carolina was lowest at 2.1%.