Declining union strength means rising economic inequality, this week in the war on workers

Union membership continuing to tick down year by year doesn’t just affect unions. It leads to rising economic inequality, the Economic Policy Institute reminds us. The share of workers covered by a union bargaining agreement is less than half of what it was in 1979, and “Research shows that this de-unionization accounts for a sizable share of the growth in inequality over that period—around 13–20 percent for women and 33–37 percent for men.”

That means a huge loss for working people: “Applying these shares to annual earnings data reveals that working people are now losing on the order of $200 billion per year as a result of the erosion of union coverage over the last four decades—with that money being redistributed upward, to the rich.”

This article was originally published at Daily Kos on February 1, 2020. Reprinted with permission.

About the Author: Laura Clawson is a Daily Kos contributor at Daily Kos editor since December 2006. Full-time staff since 2011, currently assistant managing editor.

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