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Union Member Rates Dip Among Mass. Workers

BOSTON — Union membership in Massachusetts has fallen to its lowest level in three years.

The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics said on Tuesday that Massachusetts had about 415,000 union members in 2010, representing 14.5 percent of all wage and salaried workers in the state. That was down from 16.6 percent the previous year.

Labor economist Andrew Sum of Northeastern University says the drop is another indication that difficult economic times continue.

“You are losing jobs where unions are represented in above-average rate,” Sum said. “We really had in our state what we call a depression in blue collar labor markets.”

Despite the reduction, Massachusetts had a union membership rate well above the national average of 11.9 percent in 2010.

Among U.S. states New York had the highest percentage of workers belonging to unions, while North Carolina the lowest.

With reporting from the WBUR Newsroom and the Associated Press.

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