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Excellent economist David Cay Johnston has just written a great article comparing inequality and the plight of working families coming out of the Great Depression to our era coming out of the Great Recession.

“The 90 percent, the vast majority, saw their income decline in 2012 compared with 2009, the year the Great Recession officially ended. Average annual income was down $556, or almost 2 percent, adjusted for inflation, to $30,997.”

In fact, virtually the only ones in the 90 percent who continue to see increases are union members.

That is why unions are so critical to our struggle against inequality. There simply is no formula to significantly reduce inequality that doesn’t include growing and strengthening America’s unions and the right of American workers to join them.

Of course we also know unions are essential to our democracy. It is no accident that Hitler destroyed German unions in 1933. Unions have been part of every social advancement in American history, and that like Hitler, the Plutocratic Koch boys and their crowd are doing all they can to destroy unions.

Photo source: Ramona du Houx

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Comment Preferences

  •  Unions are essential to Democrats (5+ / 0-)

    Since FDR's time, labor has formed the backbone of GOTV efforts.  It's not a coincidence that labor's period of ascendancy (roughly mid-30's to mid-70's) was the 1 period of Dem dominance since 1860.  It's not like Goldman Sachs has ever run a phone bank for a Dem candidate.

    Perhaps, some day, the party "leadership" will understand that simple fact.

    Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

    by RFK Lives on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 06:17:15 AM PDT

  •  strengthening the Nat. Labor Relations Act (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    6412093, AnacharsisClootz

    should be the top priority of the Democratic Party AND the Labor Movement itself. The US has the most anti union organizing law among the advanced nations. When Clinton was elected we had good majorities in both houses in his first two years. Neither Clinton nor Labor made labor reform a priority. Clinton tried to get healthcare, but misplayed his hand while triangulating with NAFTA. Labor focused on  killing NAFTA (unsuccessfully) and left the Check Off reform plan for forming a union under the Wagner Act for another day.

    Next time and there will be a next time, Labor Reform should be a 1st 100 days priority. It should be a party line vote worthy of breaking any filibuster rules in the Senate- whatever it takes. A strong law protecting collective bargaining and organizing rights is essential to the survival of our republic.

    Cities are good for the environment

    by citydem on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 06:48:09 AM PDT

  •  As someone who grew up in Michigan, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AnacharsisClootz

    I have seen firsthand how strong unions can be the strongest allies to the average worker.

    People are quick to point out the failings of unions, the stereotype of the lazy union worker, etc.

    However, no institution has done more to improve worker compensation and conditions - not government regulation, not the free market - than unions.

    "In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” -Confucius

    by pierre9045 on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 08:02:54 AM PDT

  •  Hi Stewart (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    citydem

    I hope your NM bargaining is going well.

    I have negotiations for workers in a smokestack industry coming up this week.

    What I remember is when Labor Law Reform came up under Carter, when we had D control of both houses, and Democrat senator Nunn threatened to filibuster it, and it died.

    And of course, card check never even came to the floor under Obama.

    Lacking labor law reform, all we've  got left is publicity campaigns, or risky strikes.

    “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

    by 6412093 on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 08:50:07 AM PDT

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