Special Labor Day Message from Secretary Hilda Solis

08/30/2012; Hilda Solis

 Special Labor Day message from U.S. Secretary of Labo, Hilda Solis.

U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis sends us this. 

Today, I want to extend my warmest wishes to you, the working men and women of America. You remain the beating heart of the greatest middle class in the world. Thank you for your commitment, your talent, your hard work and your service to this country. On behalf of everyone at the Department of Labor, I’m honored to wish all of you a great Labor Day.

Every day, you are creating an America built to last by harvesting our food, building our automobiles, constructing our buildings, providing energy for our homes and caring for our loved ones. Labor Day is our opportunity to honor that work, and that means standing up and speaking out and taking pride in what we do. You show us that each of us makes a profound contribution to our communities and our nation with the work we do; because the work of every person is built on the work of another, we all rely on one another. Work connects us all. Continue reading “Special Labor Day Message from Secretary Hilda Solis”

Union membership down, income inequality up

Union membership down, income inequality up

By August 30, 2012: 9:22 AM ET

The decline of union membership has been a key driver of income inequality in recent decades, a new report found.

The drop in unionization accounts for roughly a third of the growth in wage inequality among men and a fifth among women between 1973 and 2007, according to the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute.

The share of the workforce represented by unions declined from 26.7% in 1973 to 13.1% in 2011. This contributed to the increase in inequality by lowering wages for middle class workers, according to EPI.

A non-partisan Congressional Budget Office report last year showed that the average household income for the nation’s top 1% more than tripled, while middle-class incomes grew by less than 40% between 1979 to 2007.

The pullback in unionization has also been a primary cause of the growing wage gap between white- and blue-collar men, as well as between college-educated and high school-educated men.

“Unions reduce wage inequalities because they raise wages more at the bottom and in the middle of the wage scale than at the top,” said Lawrence Mishel, EPI’s president.

Declining unionization has hurt men more than women because men were more likely to have been in unions in their heyday.

Union workers are paid a premium of 13.6% thanks to their collective bargaining contracts, according to EPI.

Blacks and Hispanics enjoy premiums of 17.3% and 23.1%, respectively, while whites have a 10.9% bump. Men see a 17.3% premium and women 9.1%.

This advantage is calculated by comparing hourly wages between union and non-union workers who are otherwise comparable in terms of experience, education, industry and other factors.