MCDONNELL: Well I think on job creation and economic development, he’s laid out some things that will really help to stimulate the economy. With tax cuts, and regulatory cuts and litigation reform and those kinds of things that get to the heart and soul of what you need to do to promote business. This administration is doing just the opposite. More taxes, more regulation, more unionization. It’s the wrong policy.
Apparently unbeknownst to McDonnell, union membership has actually been declining in the United States. A report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics from Jaunary 2011 pointed out that union membership fell by more than 600,000 members in 2010, and that union membership as a percentage of the working population was much higher in 1983 when Ronald Reagan was president:
In 2010, the union membership rate—the percent of wage and salary workers who were members of a union—was 11.9 percent, down from 12.3 percent a year earlier, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The number of wage and salary workers belonging to unions declined by 612,000 to 14.7 million. In 1983, the first year for which comparable union data are available, the union membership rate was 20.1 percent, and there were 17.7 million union workers.
It’s unfortunate that McDonnell is not right about there being “more unionization” under President Obama. As the Center for American Progress’ Karla Walters and David Madland showed in a report they published last January, the decline in unionization in the United States correlates to skyrocketing inequality:
The last time there was a major spike in union membership was actually in 2008, under former president George W. Bush.