As union membership declined, what happened to wages?

The evidence is clear. How clear?

This is a conversation starter about unions.

There's so much coming from certain parts of the political landscape that demonize unions, I thought it was important to get back to the basics on how higher rates of unionization mean a healthier economy with higher-paid workers who are happier.

Pretty simple, right?


Image from Too Much. Used with permission.

Some fact-checky stuff:

First, a report from the Economic Policy Institute explains how the erosion of collective bargaining has widened the gap between productivity and pay. It includes another version of the first part of the graphic above, which clearly shows that American workers have become much more productive in the last 30 years, but our wages have gone down considerably.

Despite famous politicians claiming that we all need to "work harder," the reality is this: We're all working harder for a lot less.


Image from EPI.

And more fact-checky things: A Mother Jones article covers how the decline of unions matches the decline of the middle class, and another from Pew Research has five facts on economic inequality.

Finally, here's a video that attempts to look at both sides of the debate about the value of unions and whether they still matter.

I seriously don't think the jury is still out on the question of wages going down as union membership did. Just considering the graphics and data above, it's pretty clear that as unions go, so go our wages and working conditions. And our fair share of the American dream.

So, what can we do about it?

We can start by sharing stuff that refutes the traditional narrative that unions are no longer useful. We can also get involved in our workplace, whether unionized or not, and help propel change on the job.

More
The Guardian / YouTube

Earlier this month, a beluga whale caught the world's attention by playing fetch with a rugby ball thrown by South African researchers off the waters of Norway.

The adorable video has been watched over 20 million times, promoting people across the globe to wonder how the whale became so comfortable around humans.

It's believed that the whale, known as Hvaldimir, was at some point, trained by the Russian military and was either released or escaped.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Facebook / Maverick Austin

Your first period is always a weird one. You know it's going to happen eventually, but you're not always expecting it. One day, everything is normal, then BAM. Puberty hits you in a way you can't ignore.

One dad is getting attention for the incredibly supportive way he handled his daughter's first period. "So today I got 'The Call,'" Maverick Austin started out a Facebook post that has now gone viral.

The only thing is, Austin didn't know he got "the call." His 13-year-old thought she pooped her pants. At that age, your body makes no sense whatsoever. It's a miracle every time you even think you know what's going on.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Instagram / Katie Sturino

Plus-size women are in the majority. In America, 68% of women wear a size 14 or higher. Yet many plus-sized are ignored by the fashion industry. Plus-sized clothing is a $21 billion industry, however only one-fifth of clothing sales are plus-sized. On top of that, plus-sized women are often body shamed, further reinforcing that bigger body types are not mainstream despite the fact that it is common.

Plus-size fashion blogger Katie Sturino recently called out her body shamers. Sturino runs the blog, The 12ish Style, showing that plus-sized fashion isn't – and shouldn't be – limited to clothes that hide the body.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
via Twitter / Soraya

There is a strange right-wing logic that suggests when minorities fight for equal rights it's somehow a threat to the rights already held by those in the majority or who hold power.

Like when the Black Lives Matter movement started, many on the right claimed that fighting for black people to be treated equally somehow meant that other people's lives were not as valuable, leading to the short-lived All Lives Matter movement.

This same "oppressed majority" logic is behind the new Straight Pride movement which made headlines in August after its march through the streets of Boston.

Keep Reading Show less
popular