By ?SAM HANANEL
WASHINGTON (AP) — The AFL-CIO is launching a national television advertising campaign as unions fight declining membership and growing hostility in a number of states.
The ads began airing Tuesday in Pittsburgh and Austin, Texas, and will expand to other cities in the coming months.
AFL-CIO officials say they showcase the values that unions share with workers at a time of growing debate over income inequality. The ads come as states like Ohio and Wisconsin move to curb the bargaining rights of public employee unions and take other measures that could weaken the clout of organized labor.
The initial cost is $1.5 million, but that is expected to increase as more cities are targeted.
Unions represent about 12 percent of workers, down from 20 percent in the early 1980s.