Edward Smith At Politico: Why Unions Matter More Than Ever
Smith is president and CEO of Ullico Inc., the only labor-owned insurance and investment company. He explains why unions matter.
If we want to rebuild the American middle class, we need strong unions. It’s no coincidence that the decline of the middle class began with the decline in union membership. From one-third to one-fifth of the growth in inequality can be explained by the decline of unions, according to a 2011 study in the American Sociological Review by Bruce Western of Harvard University and Jake Rosenfeld of the University of Washington.
We see the result of this decline every day. More Americans are working in low-wage jobs and are without health care and the means to save for retirement.
Union jobs can still offer workers good salaries, pensions and health care benefits that give families the economic security to send kids to college or trade schools, to invest in their communities and to have a secure retirement. This is not some socialist ideal. It is the American dream — and unions have helped ensure that more Americans have a chance to live it.