Our state and nation’s economic condition of a chronically recessive economy has allowed the Tea Party and neo-conservative elements to create a “debt crisis” as a means to push economic policies which will further stagnate the economy. One of the central issues to our state economy is the decrease in real wages over the past decade. Consumers (in an economy of consumption) have less disposable income based on real wages than a decade ago. Subsequently, there has been a huge increase in the wealth gap – with fewer people controlling more of the wealth, shrinking the middle class economy:
A study conducted by Harvard University and The University of Washington, published in the American Sociological Review this month proves why Collective Bargaining rights should be of great concern to anyone interested in preserving a middle class in Wisconsin and America. The study, “ ” Unions, Norms and the Rise in U.S. Wage Inequality,” found that the decline in union power and density since 1973 explained a third of the increase in wage inequality among men since then, and a fifth of the increased inequality among women.” In addressing educational inequality, the study found “The decline of the U.S. labor movement has added as much to men’s wage inequality as has the relative increase in pay for college graduates.” The study adds that “union decline contributes just half as much as education to the overall rise in women’s wage inequality.” The study found effects in non-union wages as well, stating “the decline of organized labor held down wages in union and non-union workplaces alike. Many non union employers — especially decades ago, when unions represented more than 30 percent of the private sector work force — raised wages to help avert the threat of union organizing.” Perhaps most notably, the study addressed rising inequality in the economy, and the workplace:
“In the early 1970s, when one in three male workers were organized, unions were often prominent voices for equity, not just for their members, but for all workers,” the two professors wrote. “Union decline marks an erosion of the moral economy and its underlying distributional norms. Wage inequality in the non union sector increased as a result.”
The two professors note that the decline of unions is part of a common account of rising inequality that is often contrasted with a market explanation that includes technological change, immigration and foreign trade. They argue that the market explanation usually understates the role of organized labor’s decline on increased inequality.”
This decrease in real wages and increasing wealth gap has crippled the middle class in America, and consumers’ ability to sustain any economic recovery. What many Progressives and Labor leaders have been saying for decades has been proven with the release of this study. Contrary to the Corporatic propaganda, there are economic and social benefits to strong unions – a message they want to suppress and distort. The battle in Wisconsin is for the existence of a middle class and a political check to Corporate Anarchy threatening the existence of a Democratic process. This information is another weapon at our disposal to combat right-wing lies and rhetoric.
…And Get Out The Vote for Holperin and Wirch!!!