By Sahid Fawaz
The next time you hear someone claim that unions are no longer needed, share with them these six facts and graphs. As these numbers reveal, there is a strong correlation between unions and worker prosperity. The saying, “as unions go, so does the middle class,” is more accurate than ever. That is why it is imperative that we all strive to grow the labor movement and fight for greater economic equality for all members of the working class.
1. The growth of middle class disposable income is declining.
2. Real household income has declined by almost 8% since the year 2000.
3. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, income inequality continues to increase, with the working class getting poorer while the rich get richer. According to Richard Burkhauser, an economist at Cornell University, “virtually everyone below the 90th percentile is still falling.”
4. According to a Bankrate.com survey on CNN, three out of four Americans are living paycheck to paycheck with little to no emergency savings.
5. Wal-Mart is the largest employer in the United States, which makes its awful labor practices an even bigger threat to the middle class. For example, according to the Daily Kos, “Wal-Mart’s poverty wages force employees to rely on $2.66 billion in government help every year, or about $420,000 per store. In state after state, Wal-Mart employees are the top recipients of Medicaid. As many as 80 percent of workers in Wal-Mart stores use food stamps.”
6. The percentage of the national income that is going to workers is lower than ever.
7. The median net worth of the middle class is falling.