Photo by Michelle Stocker, The Capital Times

Union membership in Wisconsin last year dropped by 4,000 from 2015, according to a report released today by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In 2016, 8.1 percent of public and private workers were members of unions, down slightly from 8.3 percent in 2015.

That figure remains below the national average of 10.7 percent.

In 2014, as GOP legislators were pushing right-to-work legislation that bans labor contracts requiring workers to pay union fees, union membership was at 11.7 percent. But between then and 2015, membership fell drastically, dropping by 83,000 members.

Before Gov. Scott Walker took office, union membership in 2010 was at 14.2 percent in Wisconsin.

The new federal report comes at a time where the state Legislature is holding hearings on a bill that would ban state and local governments from requiring companies bidding on their public projects to enter a project labor agreement.

Union supporters testified about the benefits of PLAs in front of an Assembly committee Tuesday, saying the effort is another attack on workers. But supporters of the bill said this week it broadens competition on bidding for public projects, helping taxpayers and the economy.

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