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Union membership in Minnesota has been declining for decades. How are unions changing to stay relevant?

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The facts remain that unions’ membership decline in Minnesota has been largely at the hands of automation, globalization, and a business climate that seeks to prevent workers from organizing more than in the past — things that don’t appear to be going away anytime soon.

Greta Kaul, MinnPost

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03/08/17 | The share of Minnesota employees who were members of unions has declined, from 23 percent in 1983 to 14 percent in 2016.

For a state with a major political party that includes “Labor” in its name, you might think Minnesota would be a haven for the union movement.

The DFL notwithstanding, that’s not necessarily the case: In the last three decades, the share of Minnesota employees who are members of a union has been on a slow, steady decline.

In 1983, 23 percent, or nearly a quarter of Minnesota employees were members of labor unions. Today, that number is down to about 14 percent, according to state-by-state breakdowns of Current Population Survey data from Unionstats, a website maintained by labor researchers at Georgia State and Trinity universities.

Greta Kaul is MinnPost's data reporter. 

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