AP Voices: Administrative professionals organizing for change
September 03, 2013
Lost Decade for Wage Growth
Feel like you’re barely scraping by in what used to be your middle-class career?

You’re not alone. Researchers call the last 10 years “a lost decade” for wage growth – one also marked by sky-rocketing inequality between top earners and the middle class.

Despite an increase in productivity of more than 22% by 2010, typical wage earners made roughly the same amount per hour as in 2000,” notes “State of Working America,” a report by the Economic Policy Institute. And in 2010, median family income was 6 percent lower than in 2000, the report notes.

What happened? Falling rates of unionization, which have plummeted since the early 1970s, are a major driver of the trend, analysts say. (This point is dramatically illustrated in the chart below, produced by the Center for American Progress).

Bargaining Rights Matter

Unions lift up wages for everyone, not just their members, research shows. Whether measuring by industry or geographic area, study after study shows that strong labor unions correlate with a healthy middle class.

“Unionization is associated with about a 15% increase in hourly wages (roughly $2.50 per hour),” finds a recent study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

Unions are also the strongest, best organized advocate for laws that uplift working families. From Social Security and Medicare to the Family and Medical Leave Act, unions fight for programs and policies that provide economic stability to their members and the public at large.

As many UC staff have already learned, organizing with coworkers is the best way to protect earning power for the long-term.

And restoring healthy rates of unionization across California may also be our strongest tool to rebuild a middle-class that can support local businesses, build long-term stability in our communities, and invest in education for our children.

Labor Day reminds us: don’t wait any longer. Join us today to help speak up for all workers, on Labor Day and every day.

Sign an authorization card saying that you support UPTE for administrative professional employees. And join the union by downloading and filling out a membership application; call us toll-free at 888-740-8783 and we’ll be happy to pick it up.

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