The case for labor unions in two graphs

These two charts show why labor unions matter.  The chart above illustrates the problem with the U.S. economy, which is that working people do not enjoy the benefit of economic growth.  The chart below illustrates some of the causes.  The weakened labor movement no longer has the power to stand up for the interests of wage-owners, and so the economic elite siphons off a greater share of the national income.

Notice that U.S. workers’ inflation-adjusted wages stopped rising about the same time the labor unions went into decline.  Strong unions benefit more than just their members.  The union wage sets a standard for all industry.  Eastman Kodak Co. in its heyday paid decent wages and offered job security, but one important reason for that was to keep the union out.  We newspaper reporters were paid for than we otherwise would have been because of the benchmark set by the International Typographers Union.

Hat tip to Robert Nielsen.

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One Response to “The case for labor unions in two graphs”

  1. Anne Tanner Says:

    We Rochester, NY ex-reporters and editors owe a lot to our predecessors in the Newspaper Guild, as well. Later it became less powerful, but at the beginning of its life there it actually went on strike for better wages and conditions. My father-in-law, Paul Tanner, had a scar that he said came from a rock thrown during one of those actions. He was Guild to the end. His son and I were a lot less committed.


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