The Economic Policy Institute published this graph showing a direct relationship between the levels of union membership and equality in the U.S.:
On his Facebook page, liberal economist Robert Reich explains the correlation:
“As union membership has fallen over the last few decades, the share of income going to the top 10 percent has steadily increased. (Union membership fell to 11.1 percent in 2014, where it remained in 2015, not shown in the figure below. The share of income going to the top 10 percent, meanwhile, hit 47.2 percent in 2014—only slightly lower than 47.8 percent in 2012, the highest it has been since 1917, the earliest year data are available). When union membership was at its peak in 1945 (33.4 percent of the workforce), the share of income going to the top 10 percent was only 32.6 percent.
When workers are unionized, they have more bargaining power to get a larger share of the economic gains; when they’re less organized, they have less. To boost wages and rebuild the working middle class, have to strengthen workers’ rights to negotiate together for better wages and benefits.
Do you agree with Reich? Do unions promote equality? And if so, why or why not?