Richard Eskow elaborates on the question How Much Will The War On Unions Cost You?
The decline of unions has probably cost you, or someone close to you, thousands of dollars since last Labor Day.
A new study by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) found that income for nonunion workers fell substantially as union membership declined. And it hasn’t fallen because of some immutable economic law. It’s a casualty of war – cultural and political war.
If union enrollment had remained as high as it was in 1979, nonunion working men in the private sector would have earned an average of $2,704 more per year in 2013. The average non-unionized male worker without a college degree would have earned an additional $3,016, and those with only a high school diploma or less would have earned $3,172 more. (The differences were less striking for women because of workforce changes since the 1970s.)
Forget the “sharing economy”—get a union instead.
The decline in union membership is costing nonunion workers a total of $133 billion per year, according to EPI.
Canada resembles the U.S. in many ways, but union membership there hasn’t fallen like it has here. Why not? In a word, union-friendlier policies – the kind our country should be embracing, but isn’t.
We need unions. EPI’s study confirms that they play a key role in reducing economic inequality, which is a growing crisis. The pay gap between CEOs and average workers has skyrocketed in recent decades – from about 20:1 in 1965 to somewhere between 204:1 and331:1 today.
Unionization also narrows the racial wage gap, according to a new study from the Center for Economic and Policy Research.
It’s easy to understand how unions benefit their own members. How do they help nonunion workers? EPI explains that nonunion employers “may raise pay for some workers to forestall an organizing drive.” They also respond to “the standards that unions help establish through politicking for labor-friendly policies,” and from the fact that unions are “a cultural force arguing for a ‘fairer share’ for working men and women.”
So the war on unions that didn’t seem to affect many folks has actually cost them thousands of dollars and a higher standard of living. Most folks don’t even know they’ve been had. Starting to feel like being stuck between Charles and David Koch on an escalator! One distracts you with something else while the other picks your pocket. Now you know what that game is costing you even if you don’t belong to a union.