Friday, February 20, 2015

The Cost of a Decline in Unions by Nicholas Kristof

Photo: Chicago Plumbers Union, Local 130 in 1950s

“…Joseph Stiglitz notes in his book ‘The Price of Inequality’ that when unions were strong in America, productivity and real hourly compensation moved together in manufacturing. But after 1980 (and especially after 2000) the link seemed to break and real wages stagnated.

“It may be that as unions weakened, executives sometimes grabbed the gains from productivity. Perhaps that helps explain why chief executives at big companies earned, on average, 20 times as much as the typical worker in 1965, and 296 times as much in 2013, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

“Lawrence F. Katz, a Harvard labor economist, raises concerns about some aspects of public-sector unions, but he says that in the private sector (where only 7 percent of workers are now unionized): ‘I think we’ve gone too far in de-unionization.’ He’s right. This isn’t something you often hear a columnist say, but I’ll say it again: I was wrong. At least in the private sector, we should strengthen unions, not try to eviscerate them.”

For the complete article from the New York Times, Click Here.

1 comment:

  1. My father is in the center of the photo, the young man with a big smile and lots of dark hair.