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Courant Headline Says Unions Down 17 Percent. Really? Uh, No.

Posted in Human Resources (HR) Compliance

UPDATED 2 p.m.

About five weeks ago, I wrote about the new Bureau of Labor Statistics report that showed union membership and representation was down in Connecticut in 2010 from 17.1 percent of the overall workforce to 16.7, or in raw numbers from 265,000 workers to 258,000. 

But I also noted that compared with 2007 (when there were 253,000 union members), there was still an increase in union membership.  In essence, the numbers have remained relatively constant when reviewed over a span of years.

So imagine my surprise at this morning’s headline from the Hartford Courant

Connecticut’s Union Coverage Falls By 17 Percent

Holy Cow! Had I missed something? Uh, no. 

The headline is just outright wrong. (UPDATE: The Courant has revised their website to this new headline "Connecticut’s Union Coverage Falls Slightly In 2010.")  Indeed, when you read the story itself, you can see that the numbers merely show what I previously reported: That the percentage of workers who are union members fell below the 17 percent level.

In actual percentage terms. union membership declined 2.6 percent in 2010.  Considering the reductions in force that occurred in 2010, it’s not surprising to see such a dip. Let’s wait to see the long-term trend before pronouncing a massive decline in unions. 

Mistakes happen, but headline goofs like this only reinforce some people’s perceptions that unions are in much worse shape in Connecticut than they are. 

  • Bob

    The Hartford Courant was a once great paper with competent editors and thoughtful reporters. Sadly, this is no longer the case. Readership has precipitously dropped in response to the continued failures at the Courant.

  • DavidC

    I’ll be curious to see how the Courant handles the correction. Typically corrections are obscurely placed on some inside page. Will this warrant front page treatment because it is union-related?