Another installment of ‘The Big Picture: 10 Ideas to Save the Economy’ with Robert Reich: ‘Strengthen Unions.’

As union membership has weakened from more than a third of all private sector workers belonging to unions in the 1950s to fewer than 7% today, that decline has mirrored almost exactly the decline of the middle-class. Years ago, unions were the great countervailing power to business. […] We must enact a federal law that overturns the so-called Right to Work laws. Don’t be fooled by the name. It’s a back door to destroying unions… Wages in Right to Work states are lower than wages in non- Right to Work states on an average of about $6,000 a year. ~ Robert Reich

Sometimes people don’t understand that a stronger union presence in the work economy helps all workers in the overall workforce – by raising the bar for wages and worker protections. You know how non-union employers say they offer ‘competitive wages?’ That is only helpful if they must actually compete with union companies that offer higher wages.

How to Strengthen Unions

  • Make it easier for workers to unionize
  • Penalize companies that break the laws
  • Overturn state ‘Right to Work’ laws

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‘The Big Picture: 10 Ideas to Save the Economy’ is a collaborative project between Robert Reich and MoveOn.Org.