Is union influence waning in Rhode Island?

PROGRAM PARKED: Brian Palmer is the director of training for the Teamsters Local 251 Driving School, which offers commercial driver’s license certification training through a partnership with Real Jobs RI. The program has been temporarily shuttered due to the COVID-19 pandemic. / PBN PHOTO/RUPERT WHITELEY
BUCKING THE TREND: Union membership declined in Rhode Island last year but Teamsters Local 251 says it bucked the trend, adding 500 members since the start of the pandemic. Pictured in 2020 is Brian Palmer, director of training for the Teamsters Local 251 Driving School. PBN FILE PHOTO/RUPERT WHITELEY
Rhode Island remains the most unionized state in New England, but the percentage of union members among its workforce dropped from 17.8% to 15.7% in 2021, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Total union membership in Rhode Island dropped from 81,000 in 2020 to 75,000 last year. In the same period, however, the…

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