And right on cue, Think Progress confirms this:
The middle class brings home a substantially larger share of aggregate earnings in states that have high rates of union membership than in those where fewer workers are organized, a Center for American Progress Action Fund (CAPAF) analysis of Census data shows. Amid very high and still increasing income inequality, union density appears to offer some buffer for middle-class Americans.The Political Carnival has more:
By comparing the share of total income that went to the middle 60 percent of the population in each state to the level of union membership in each state, CAPAF’s David Madland and Keith Miller found that the states with the lowest rates of union membership return below-average shares of income to their middle-class residents. The income figures come from new Census data, and the union density figures come from UnionStats.com. In the ten most-unionized states, the middle class brought home 47.4 percent of total income. In the ten least-unionized states, that income share falls to 46.8 percent.
Given the size of the state income figures at play here, that 0.6 percentage point gap translates to billions of dollars. Madland and Miller note that in Pennsylvania, 0.6 percent of aggregate income for 2012 “would have equaled over $2 billion, or almost $700 per middle-class household.”
The finding shouldn’t surprise anyone. The rise of inequality over the past three decades tracks closely with the decline of union membership. Stronger unions mean stronger advocacy for policies that support workers, not just on the job but with regard to fiscal policy decisions that help set the path for what level of income inequality there will be.
As TP points out, and as we have in many posts, as unions get stronger, they increase their ability to stand up for workers. When that happens, not only does it improve work place conditions, but in the long run, income inequality is reduced.Unless you like to work in unsafe conditions, get paid poverty level wages, get harassed by management just because they're having a bad day and getting passed up for raises and bonuses because you're not married to the boss' child, there isn't really a valid excuse not to want to be in a union.
And since the very rich make way more than the rest of us, leveling the playing field benefits the entire country, the health and welfare of more Americans, and the economy.