There is little that is more illustrative of what has caused the fall of America’s middle class than the graphs that show the fall in union membership alongside a graph that shows the fall in worker’s pay. It is an almost exact one to one correlation.
Robert Reich has a short video that does a great job of explaining how unions are necessary.
As income and wealth inequality becomes larger the bad effects on society multiply. More and more we see laws that favor the wealthy and hurt the less well off. We also see the blocking of laws that would be considered good for all of society.
One example that comes immediately to mind in this state is education. The Republican Party, acting as the representatives of wealth, keep budgeting for public schools in Iowa as low as they can and still get re-elected. At they same time they are working hard to syphon off as much of that public money to private concerns through school vouchers and other tricks.
Another is the control of most people’s health care by employers. Many cling to their jobs for fear of losing their health care. Meanwhile Republicans in state and national legislatures refuse to do anything that will untie the employer – health care entanglement that helps keep employees tied to their jobs.
Unions with strength of numbers could really help make situations such as the above less likely. Of course the unions top concerns would be wages and working conditions.
We need to hear from Democratic candidates what they will be doing to strengthen unions and thus conditions for the millions of America’s workers.