Black Hawk Union Council celebrates Labor Day with annual picnic - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Black Hawk Union Council celebrates Labor Day with annual picnic

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The grill was fired and people were mingling Monday at Gateway Park in Cedar Falls.

The Black Hawk Union Council held its fourth annual Labor Day picnic. It saw roughly 400 people at the event to celebrate those in the workforce, both current and retired.

While 22 percent of people in the Cedar Valley are part of a labor union, the trend in the rest of the state and nationally shows union membership declining. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, from 2011 to 2012, union membership among those employed nationally declined from 11.8% to 11.3%. Iowa membership dropped as well from 2011 to 2012, going from 11.2% to 10.4% respectively.

The Black Hawk Union Council says union membership here is stagnant – as it's not gaining or losing members.

 "Were a strong union community… It's one of the strongest in the state. We have people of all sectors – nurses, factory workers, construction workers," said Steven Abbott with the Union Council.

 While the trends on both the national and state levels show declines in membership, Abbott said the future is bright for unions. He said the union has taken a close look at people ages 18 to 27 and found unions are quite popular among the younger generations.

 "With younger people, we've done polls, huge polls all over the country. Younger people think there has to be a reason, there has to be unions. They see them as the great equalizer," Abbott said.

 According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the entire Midwest is experiencing a drop in union membership. Of the ten states in the region, only two saw no change or an increase in membership from 2011 to 2012.

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