Declining number of union members affects all workers’ salaries.
Excerpt: The benefits of collective bargaining go well beyond unionized plants and affect nonunionized industries, studies show.
hallmark of the first 30 years after World War II was the
countervailing power of labor unions, and their ability to raise wages
and working standards for members and nonmembers alike,” said Colin Gordon, a history professor at the University of Iowa.
not only were successful at boosting the share of corporate profits
devoted to wage gains for average workers, he said, but they also were
effective at keeping a lid on growth in executive salaries as they
served as watchdogs against the kind of explosive growth in executive
compensation seen today.
Labor unions worked to ensure prosperity was shared more broadly, Mr. Gordon
said. But as labor unions have declined, an increasing share of income
has gone to shareholders and workers at the top who already are
That has led to an income gap larger than any seen in
more than a century, when - like today - only about 10 percent of the
workforce was unionized, he said.
See Votes by State
News & Politics