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United Auto Workers outside the GM Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant, October 2019. Photo: Jeff Kowalsky/AFP via Getty Images

Labor union membership in the U.S. continued to drop in 2019, new data released Wednesday from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows.

The big picture: Amid this slight dip in union membership — which decreased 0.2% from 2018 — the United Auto Workers led the largest demonstration by any union against any U.S. business since UAW's last strike against General Motors in 2007.

What they're saying: 51% of Americans said in 2018 that decreasing union representation is "mostly bad for working people in the U.S.," according to Pew Research, while 35% said it has been "mostly good."

Where it stands: Public-sector workers' union membership has continued to be five times higher than private-sector workers, BLS reported, and men have a slightly higher membership rate than women.

  • Nonunion workers took home median weekly earnings that were 81% of union members' earnings.

Of note: Over half of the 14.6 million union members recorded in 2019 lived in just seven states — California, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio and Washington.

Go deeper: Unions shrink fast in swing states

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York coronavirus restrictions

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled late Wednesday that restrictions previously imposed on New York places of worship by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) during the coronavirus pandemic violated the First Amendment.

Why it matters: The decision in a 5-4 vote heralds the first significant action by the new President Trump-appointed conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who cast the deciding vote in favor of the Catholic Church and Orthodox Jewish synagogues.

USAID chief tests positive for coronavirus

An Air Force cargo jet delivers USAID supplies to Russia earlier this year. Photo: Mikhail Metzel/TASS via Getty Images

The acting administrator of the United States Agency for International Development informed senior staff Wednesday he has tested positive for coronavirus, two sources familiar with the call tell Axios.

Why it matters: John Barsa, who staffers say rarely wears a mask in their office, is the latest in a series of senior administration officials to contract the virus. His positive diagnosis comes amid broader turmoil at the agency following the election.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
10 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 shows a bright future for vaccines

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Promising results from COVID-19 vaccine trials offer hope not just that the pandemic could be ended sooner than expected, but that medicine itself may have a powerful new weapon.

Why it matters: Vaccines are, in the words of one expert, "the single most life-saving innovation ever," but progress had slowed in recent years. New gene-based technology that sped the arrival of the COVID vaccine will boost the overall field, and could even extend to mass killers like cancer.

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