Women are the only or primary breadwinners in 40% of households with children younger than 18 and 63% of those homes are headed by single mothers, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center. In 1960, women accounted for just 11% of the main or sole earners in homes with children.
Let’s be honest. Sometimes, outside of election campaign seasons, even progressives wonder what’s so great about unions. Sure, we had a role to play before job safety laws, the eight-hour day, Social Security and civil rights laws were passed. But today?
Even our friends aren’t immune to the relentless attacks on unions from the right and the stereotypes that come with them: union thugs, lazy workers, relics of the past, self-absorbed, yadda, yadda, yadda.
We’ve said it for years. Because of the “Union Difference”—fair wages and better benefits for workers who belong to a union—unions are the ticket to the middle class. Even if you don’t belong to a union, there is a spillover effect to the whole economy. In other words, when unions are strong, everyone benefits. But don’t take our word for it, here’s what Time magazine contributor Eric Liu says:
The fact is that when unions are stronger the economy as a whole does better.
New figures from the U.S. Census Bureau today show that the middle class received the smallest share of the nation’s income since these data were first reported. The middle 60 percent of households received only 45.7 percent of the nation’s income in 2011, down from the historical peak of 53.2 percent in 1968. But writers David Madland and Nick Bunker at the Center for American Progress Action Fund say:
By advancing the interests of the middle class in the workplace and in our democracy, unions help build and strengthen the middle class.
The U.S. public is painfully aware of the growing income inequality in this nation.
Now, a new report shows a big reason why the gap is growing: fewer workers in unions.
Declining unionization was responsible for roughly one-third of the growth of wage inequality among men from 1973 to 2007, a new Economic Policy Institute (EPI) report finds. Declining unionization can explain roughly one-fifth of the growth of wage inequality among women over the same period (click to enlarge chart).