Crossing the line separating Indiana and Illinois sometimes means dealing with different laws and customs. Readers are asked to share ideas for this weekly feature. This week: Union membership.
The heavy manufacturing pasts and presents of Illinois and Indiana have resulted in two states where labor unions remain comparatively strong.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 15.1 percent of Illinois workers were members of a labor union in 2014, with an additional 0.9 percent paying "fair share" fees for union representation.
That's a drop from 2013 when 15.8 percent of Illinois workers were union members and 16.3 percent represented by unions.
Ironically, despite enacting an anti-union right-to-work law in 2012, Indiana's union membership is rising.
Last year, 10.7 percent of Hoosier workers were union members, up from 9.3 percent in 2013.
Counting voluntary "fair share" contributors, 12 percent of all Indiana employees were represented by a union in 2014.
However, those totals are a far cry from labor's strength a half-century ago when 41 percent of Hoosier workers and 35 percent of Illinoisans were union members.