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Virginia Union Membership Nearing 30-Year Lows

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The number of unionized workers in Virginia fell by 4,000 last year and is nearing its lowest level in three decades.

The report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows 159,000 union members, or about 4.4 percent of the work force, employed in the commonwealth in 2012. That's down from 4.6 percent the year before, according to the Associated Press.

The bureau says nationally, membership dropped last year from 11.8 to 11.3 percent of the work force. That's the lowest level since the 1930s. The decline was accelerated, as cash-strapped state and local governments shed workers and unions faced challenges organizing new members.

Virginia's union membership has generally declined annually and has remained below the national rate since state data became available in 1989. That year, 9.1 percent of working VIrginians carried a union card

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