Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Poll Analyses
Share on Facebook 19 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 9/5/19

The 5 Biggest Corporate Lies about Unions

By       (Page 1 of 1 pages) (View How Many People Read This)   1 comment
Author 47089
Follow Me on Twitter     Message Robert Reich
Become a Fan
  (127 fans)

From Robert Reich Blog

Wealthy corporations and their enablers have spread five big lies about unions in order to stop workers from organizing and to protect their own bottom-lines. Know the truth and spread the truth.

Lie #1: Labor unions are bad for workers.Wrong. Unions are good for all workers even those who are not unionized. In the mid-1950s, when a third of all workers in the United States were unionized, wages grew in tandem with the economy. That's because workers across America even those who were not unionized had significant power to demand and get better wages, hours, benefits, and working conditions. Since then, as union membership has declined, the middle class has shrunk as well.

Lie #2: Unions hurt the economy. Wrong again. When workers are unionized they can negotiate better wages, which in turn spreads the economic gains more evenly and strengthens the middle class. This creates a virtuous cycle: Wages increase, workers have more to spend in their communities, businesses thrive, and the economy grows. Since the 1970s, the decline in unionization accounts for one-third of the increase in income inequality. Without unions, wealth becomes concentrated at the top and the gains don't trickle down to workers.

Lie #3: Labor unions are as powerful as big business. No way. Labor union membership in 2018 accounted for 10.5 percent of the American workforce, while large corporations account for almost three-quarters of the entire American economy. And when it comes to political power, it's big business and small labor. In the 2018 midterms, labor unions contributed less than 70 million dollars to parties and candidates, while big corporations and their political action committees contributed 1.6 billion dollars. This enormous gulf between business and labor is a huge problem. It explains why most economic gains have been going to executives and shareholders rather than workers. But this doesn't have to be the case.

Lie #4: Most unionized workers are in industries like steel and auto manufacturing. Untrue. Although industrial unions are still vitally important to workers, the largest part of the unionized workforce is workers in the professional and service sectors retail, restaurant, hotel, hospital, teachers -- which comprise 59% of all workers represented by a union. And these workers benefit from being in a union. In 2018, unionized service workers earned a median wage of 802 dollars a week. Non-unionized service workers made on average, $261 less. That's almost a third less.

Lie #5: Most unionized workers are white, male, and middle-aged. Some unionized workers are, of course, but most newly-unionized workers are not. They're women, they're young, and a growing portion are black and brown. In fact, it's through the power of unions that people who had been historically marginalized in the American economy because of their race, ethnicity, or gender are now gaining economic ground. In 2018, w omen who were in unions earned 21 percent more than non-unionized women. And African-Americans who were unionized earned nearly 20 percent more than African-Americans who were non-unionized.

Don't believe the corporate lies. Today's unions are growing, expanding, and boosting the wages and economic prospects of those who need them most. They're good for workers and good for America.

 

Rate It | View Ratings

Robert Reich Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor and Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, has a new film, "Inequality for All," to be released September 27. He blogs at www.robertreich.org.

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

STAY IN THE KNOW
If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
Name
Email
   (Opens new browser window)
 

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Trump Cornered

The Republican's Big Lies About Jobs (And Why Obama Must Repudiate Them)

Paul Ryan Still Doesn't Get It

What Mitt Romney Really Represents

What to Do About Disloyal Corporations

The Gas Wars

To View Comments or Join the Conversation: