In the mid-20th-century United States, about a third of all workers belonged to a union. Today, however, only about 12 percent of American workers are union members. Mass public opinion has taken an anti-union turn. In one recent survey, when asked whether “labor unions” were “necessary to protect the working person,” a third of all Americans, including 39 percent of Independents and 57 percent of Republicans, said no.
But what do you suppose most average working people would say to a nearly 14 percent increase in wages, a 28 percent greater chance of receiving employer-paid health benefits, and a 54 percent greater chance of an employer-paid pension? According to careful empirical research by the Economic Policy Institute, those are the wage premiums and other benefits associated with being a union member. Continue reading “State of the Unions”