Report offers snapshot of union labor today

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Today's typical union member is a woman working in the public sector, whereas 25 years ago it might have been a man with a factory job, according to a report that looks at the changing face of organized labor.

The report, published by the liberal Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, starts its analysis in 1983, when federal surveys first started collecting details about union members.

By analyzing those records, author John Schmitt found that more than 45 percent of today's unionized workers are women, up from 35 percent in 1983...

... Union membership in absolute and percentage terms has declined over the last quarter century.

Schmitt said that in 1983, 20.5 million people, or 23.3 percent of the U.S. workforce, was unionized.

In 2008, 17.8 million people, or 13.7 percent of the labor force, worked under union contracts.

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