The money that hasn’t been going into workers’ paychecks while wages have stagnated for decades has been found. It’s been diverted to corporate profits and, according to a new study, that money was rerouted because of a decline in union membership—not the technology and computerization that’s boosted productivity and eliminated jobs.
Union members have been called many stereotypes over the years: thugs, relics, selfish—the list goes on. But the truth is union members are people who work and make contributions to their communities every day. Union members are innovating on the job and training the next generation of skilled workers, among many other things.
The New York Times posted an editorial today highlighting the need for high-paying American jobs, a shift from austerity to investments in our infrastructure and economy and strengthening workers' rights to collectively bargain for a voice on the job. The Times is publishing a series of editorials "on what President Obama and Congress should tackle in the next four years.” Other editorials can be found here.
The 400,000 drop in labor union membership announced by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics last week is discouraging. The bigger story is that at the center of the drop is the decline in employment for public-sector workers, most notably local government workers. This has been the weakest sector of the economy. And that largely reflects the decline in teachers. So, this is not so much about unions losing, but the continued lack of focus of American economic policy on maintaining investments for America’s future in the face of the ongoing weak economy. The myopic debates on the fiscal deficit and cutting budgets to meet the educational needs of America’s children (in order to preserve tax cuts for the currently wealthy) is not a plan to make America succeed in the long run.
It’s a fact: If you’re a union member you have better wages, benefits and working conditions—along with a voice at work. But a new Duke University study suggests that labor unions also are good for your health.
The research finds that more unionized U.S. workers consider themselves healthy than do their nonunion counterparts, an indication that membership is good for the body as well as the paycheck, said David Brady, a Duke sociology professor and co-author of the study.