Decline in Unions = Rise in Inequality

30 Jun

Progressive Economics = sexy. Hence my love for the Progressive Economics Forum.

The folks over at PEF posted about a new paper that looks at how falling union density rates in the private are associated with rising inequality rates among non-union workers.

This reaseach confirms what many seasoned labour activists observe from their experience on the ground – having strong union presence in a labour market results in gains for non-unionized workers too.

It’s touch ironic, considering the lack of sympathy some members of the public have for union workers. Every time someone’s on strike, I hear grumblings to the tune of “well if they’re so unsatisfied, just get another job! I know lots of people who would be happy to take the wage rate their boss is offering”.

Of course, apply that attitude into strategy and you have a recipe for driving *down* workers’ wages and contributing to inequality. But do go give the paper by Bruce Western and Jake Rosenfeld a read. It’s hardly light summer reading but gratifying for those yearning to make a case for (re)building the power unions had just a few decades ago.


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