Alabama Union Membership on Rise

Montgomery, AL – New government figures show a big jump in Alabama union membership in 2004. But analysts and state union officials are questioning the report's accuracy. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics study found that 9.7 percent, or 181 thousand, of Alabama workers belonged to unions in 2004. That number was up from about 8 percent, or 147 thousand workers, in 2003. But union membership continued a 20-year decline nationwide. The Alabama AFL-CIO represents a majority of the state's union workers. Stewart Burkhalter with that group says organized labor's numbers are declining. He says unions are losing members faster than they can organize due to plant closings and off-shoring.