Wage growth remains slow, even though the economy approaches what most agree is "full employment." Politicians, even Republicans, seem to support improving wage growth and decry the growing wealth inequality that threatens the stability of our nation. I would like to propose that we embrace the unionization of as many workers as possible - currently at about 11.3 percent of all workers, down from a peak of 35 percent in the 1950s - for the following reasons:
• Unions provide a protected voice for the employees to negotiate with their employers over benefits, salaries, working conditions, etc.
• Union workers, on average, earn 3.1 percent more than their counterparts in the 28 right-to-work states
• Union membership boosts the wages of all workers as nonunion businesses feel pressured to keep up to retain employees
• Union membership and increased disposable income boosts demand and improves the economy, in general
• When labor is weak and capital is unrestrained, corporations hoard, hiring slows, demand goes down and inequality deepens … we end up with record highs in corporate profits and record lows in wages
• And, for women, unions play an even more important role in reducing -- from 20 percent to 9 percent-- the gender gap
So, now we see a tax scam that is going to further erode the middle class. We need to recognize that corporations are not going to just step up and do the right thing with regard to wage growth unless they feel pressured and union representatives sitting across the table as partners in economic development can apply the right sort of pressure to raise wages, improve the future of the middle class and ensure economic and political stability for our country.