Unions make a difference

We know that membership in unions has fallen steadily since the 1950s. We should not be surprised, then, that labor’s share of economic output has also declined, as the chart below illustrates.

labor share 3:2016

Indeed, over 90 percent of economic output since the Great Recession has gone to the top one percent of households, which now control as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent.

There is a strong correlation between union participation rates and inequality, as we can see in this chart.

unions and inequality

The diamonds at the lower right of the above chart are Scandinavian countries. The U.S., at the upper left, has the highest level of inequality of the major industrial democracies and the lowest level of union membership.

Greedy rich men like the Koch brothers aren’t content to have billions of dollars in their portfolios. They want more, and will do just about anything to ensure that their avarice continues unabated. Since unions check inequality, the Koch brothers andĀ their circle of friends target labor organizations, as Jane Mayer recounts in her book Dark Money.