State Of The Unions: Labor And The Middle Class : NPR
As unions have declined, Meyerson says, the average wage in some sectors has fallen — in some cases dramatically. In the auto industry, unionized jobs once paid upward of $28 an hour. He says workers in both union and non-union plants are now hired at about $13 to $15 an hour, and in some cases can't earn more than $19 an hour.Without a middle class helped by unions, Meyerson says, the U.S. would continue down a path of massive inequality of wealth and low levels of mobility."People are not moving up the economic ladder now," he says. "We would have real decline in wealth because people's income isn't keeping up, so most of their wealth is in their homes ... [and] people have lost two decades worth of value on their homes. We would have a really strapped middle class."This, in fact, is what we have now, he says.