Working Americans are facing many challenges on the job front. While unemployment is low, so is pay. Corporations may be pulling in massive profits, but it’s all going to the top, with those who are making these businesses succeed getting little in return.
The future is likely to offer more of the same. Increasingly, companies will be looking to automation to maximize their bottom lines. Many workers who have given years of their lives toiling for their employers will be rewarded for their hard work with a pink slip.
The struggle is real, and it isn’t just those being hit the hardest who realize it. The global elite hob-knobbing in Davos, Switzerland this week even recognize the challenges facing the economy if nothing changes. BlackRock chief executive Larry Fink told The Washington Post, “Since the financial crisis, those with capital have reaped enormous benefits. At the same time, many individuals across the world are facing a combination of low rates, low wage growth, and inadequate retirement systems.”
So how do we change this? Increased unionization! America had a thriving middle class during the mid-20th century, all thanks to a significant union presence that topped out at more than a third of the workforce. But big business and their corporate cronies buckled down and pushed “no rights at work” legislation in states across the country. Lower wages followed.
Increasingly, however, workers are getting wise to corporate America’s games. And they are responding by getting organized. The latest numbers released last week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the number of workers belonging to a union grew by 262,000 last year to 14.8 million overall in 2017. Private industry workers who are organized grew by 0.1 percent. Interestingly, union growth was greatest in several anti-union Southern states, with Texas leading the way.
Why join a union? Because union jobs pay more! The BLS reports that union members had a median weekly income of $1,041, compared to non-union workers, who on average earned $829 a week. That’s a difference of more than $11,000 a year. It also doesn’t address the fact that union workers generally receive better benefits as well.
Workers have seen for decades what happens when they leave it to lawmakers to solve the problems of the middle class – not much. It’s time for hardworking Americans to take control of their own destiny and join with their co-workers to gain power in the workplace. That’s what a union can do!