One Theory Why Income Inequality has Grown in America

Labor News

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Reprinted from Marketplace by Jacob Passy on August 24, 2017. 

“As the influence of US labor unions has waned over the last half-century, inequality in American life has increased,” writes Jacob Passy in Marketplace.

“Today, only 11% of American workers are covered by unions, which is a sharp contrast from the 1950s when a third of the US workforce was unionized or in a job represented by a union, according to a new report released Thursday by the Economic Policy Institute, a think tank based in Washington, D.C. Unions have weakened in recent years thanks to corporate efforts to quash them and right-to-work legislation.

“Union workers these days earn on average 13.2% more than non-unionized workers with similar education and experience in the same sector and, according to the report, the pay differential would be even greater if union membership were higher.

“If these trends were to reverse, middle- and working-class Americans would stand to reap the benefits, even if they weren’t in a union, the researchers contend. …

Marketwatch 8/24

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Jeff Burman represents assistant editors on the Guild’s Board of Directors. He can be reached at

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