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Union membership among California's workers declined fractionally in the last year, according to an annual survey by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, but remains seventh highest among the states.

The BLS report says that 17.1 percent of California's private and public employees are union members, down from 17.5 percent the previous year. That translates into 2.4 million union members, down more than 50,000 from a year earlier, in a total employed workforce of 13.9 million.

The numbers and percentages of workers represented by unions, including non-members, are slightly higher at 2.5 million and 18.2 percent. California is tied for the seventh highest rate with Oregon. New York is highest at 24.1 percent and South Carolina the lowest at 3.4 percent. The national rate is 11.8 percent, down from 11.9 percent the previous year.

The survey report does not break down state membership by private and public sectors. Nationally, 37 percent of public workers are unionized, while just 6.9 percent of those in private employment belong to unions.

EDITOR'S NOTE, 1:27 p.m.: This post has been corrected to show that California's rate is tied with Oregon's for seventh place, not fifth.


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