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Trumka: Union Jobs Build the Middle Class

Photo courtesy of the Washington Department of Transportation.

This is an excerpt of AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka's "Opposing View: Union Jobs Build the Middle Class" from USA Today.

It's a tough time to work for a living.

Middle-class families have been losing ground for more than a decade. Today, working people have a smaller piece of the pie than at any time in the past 50 years. During that period, the number of people belonging to unions also declined steadily; in fact, if you look at the decline of the middle class beside the state of union membership, those numbers are parallel. This should concern everyone who cares about a strong America.

Our country is at its best when growth is shared by more families, not fewer.

Yet some people would have us believe that the answer to the weak economy is to continue to downgrade jobs, and to make college, retirement security and home ownership less affordable. Pundits point to home health care workers, firefighters and other public-sector workers whose median pension is just over $24,000 a year and say that they have too much, and that we should take it away.

Read more from The American Prospect, "Alternative Futures for Labor," and from The Washington Post, "‘Can we have a liberal America without unions? History says no.'"

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