Union Membership Falls, Top 10 Percent Get More Wealthy

According to The Economic Policy Institute - As union membership has taken a tumble - the top 10 percent have been getting more wealthy.

Union membership fell to 11.1 percent in 2014, where it remained in 2015.

The share of income going to the top 10 percent, meanwhile, hit 47.2 percent in 2014—only slightly lower than 47.8 percent in 2012, the highest it has been since 1917 (the earliest year data are available).

When union membership was at its peak (33.4 percent in 1945) the share of income going to the top 10 percent was only 32.6 percent.

To boost wages for working people, policymakers need to intentionally tilt power back to working people by strengthening their rights to stand together and negotiate collectively for better wages and benefits, raising and improving labor standards, and achieving persistent low unemployment.


harry ashburn 7 years 50 weeks ago

NOtice to Thom from harry ashburn, beach and lieder fan...among others: Thom...please slack-off on the tweets! Beach is threatening to leave the chat room... others, including myself... are also tired of too many tweets! thank you!

cccccttttt 7 years 50 weeks ago

The clash between union and management stems from an "us versus them' tribal mind set.

Suggest looking into the many successful examples of worker run and owned cooperatives.

Excellent source of information is at



Queenbeethatsme's picture
Queenbeethatsme 7 years 50 weeks ago

This is the same blog that tells us climate change will end the world any time now...faced with imminent extinction, I'm thinking unions and wealthy people don't really matter anymore.

If messages are to be taken seriously..have a cause and stick with it.. because when causes contradict each other, it cancels both messages out.

Thom, how can we consider or care about unions and the super wealthy if methane is about to begin the processes of ending our existence? PRIORITIES. PRIORITIES. LOL

Queenbeethatsme's picture
Queenbeethatsme 7 years 50 weeks ago

Lol. How idealistic. Mant companies are started by individuals, and those individuals don't want to be cooperatively owned, given it was their idea and workers are just drudges/drones and both easily obtainable and replaceable.

Your post sounds very communistic. Unfortunately, never go to a restaurant, see the chef serving a meal and decide it is a smorgasbord or buffet...just for you and everyone else whose best contribution are just their appetites.

Paul Bersch's picture
Paul Bersch 7 years 50 weeks ago

I agree with you 100% Thom. The middle class of America is slowly disappearing. I continually write letters and send e-mails to my congesspeople abot things such as this. Although I admit it gets a bit disenhearting to see so little change. I commend you on your vigilance and commitment to spreading the word of the people.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 7 years 50 weeks ago

Slave trade agreements have broke the backs of many of our labor unions. Trump sure has benefited from this piggish method of concentrating wealth and power.

We could stop out of control pant loads like Trump by reverting back to tax laws which existed as late as the early 60's. Rates then were over 90% for the top bracket, and guess what?...the economy, along with the middle class, boomed. It was power to the people! We could do that again, but it's doubtful that Hillary and the Dems will move on any tax rate hikes for the billionaires and corpse America......it would be a huge lift for Bernie once he's Senate majority leader, who knows? ....at least he'll fight for us.

BTW, polls are still very favorable for increasing taxes on the rich, but that smells too much like democracy.

carolecap 7 years 50 weeks ago

Thom, Today's blog once again resonates so well with my professor husband's play "Our Day Will Come" about Eugene Debs dedication in the early 20th Century to these same political principles. You "should" read it. It is very timely today!! And, by the way (& coincidentally) we are also Hunter School alumni parents thanks to my reading your "Prophet's Way"! Carole

tylf's picture
tylf 7 years 50 weeks ago

For sure - and those hypocritically named "right to work" laws are really laws designed to cripple the unions. Employees have the right to work with or without the statutes, only difference is how much money they take home. The Republicans have a penchant for misnaming statutes to make it appear they are for the working class when in fact they are to protect business profits. Do they think no one notices?


Kend's picture
Kend 7 years 50 weeks ago

"given it was their idea and workers are just drudges/drones and both easily obtainable and replaceable" queen b said.

I don't know where you live but good employees are very hard to replace. Almost extinct. The reason why Union membership is down is because business owners like me pay the good ones a ton and keep our companies small and profitable. Then the big corporations buy us up and I go golfing.

Upper medium size companies that unionized don't exists anymore. They sell out before the unions take over. Kinda sad but it is what it is.

RFord's picture
RFord 7 years 50 weeks ago

As a union member I understand a thing or two about unions. I belong to a union where labor and management work together. We know that we need each other. We both contribute money to training. We train apprentices for 5 years. We train journeymen workers too so they can get additional qualifications and be more desirable employees and be more useful to management. Management does not have to keep any employee they do not want. We have about 15 signatory contractors in our union. The contractors have had the option to leave the union with a 90 day advanced notice before the expiration of a contract for decades but they stay. One contractor left but came back and asked if he could rejoin the union because he could not find trained and highly qualified employees in the non-union sector instead he got employees that were constantly screwing up. Not all unions are the same. Each union is unique just like each person is unique. So if someone says unions do this or that, ask them , "Which unions? " and remind them that not all unions are the same. The so-called anti-abortion, pro-second amendment legislators have been enacting anti-union and anti-worker legislation for years. If people would wake up they could see that anti-abortion and pro-second amendment is code for pro-business owner, pro-CEO, pro-millionaire, and anti-worker, (non-union and especially union worker). It's a matter of pro worker candidates stepping up and running for office and getting elected. If that happened, it would be beneficial for all workers. In the meantime my union, Plumbers Local 17 Memphis Tennessee just keeps on rolling along.

Howard Laverne Stewart's picture
Howard Laverne ... 7 years 50 weeks ago

Voting by mail would help solve many of our problems

jashardin's picture
jashardin 7 years 50 weeks ago

Thom, the new Satistic on Sociopaths is 1 in 25... came out last year, when they say 1 out of a 100, it's code...they don't want to tell you, because it's so bad.... i was saying for years, that we would be lucky if it's just 1 out of 25, i still think it could be worse... But it explains the World...1 out 25...

Astrobobga's picture
Astrobobga 7 years 50 weeks ago

As a President of a government union, I can tell you that there is great fear of reprisal against employees for speaking out and there is still a fear to join the union beacause of reprisal. The union provides protection. Go figure!

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 7 years 50 weeks ago

A good business labor model is with a strong union making sure workers are fairly treated and justly compensated. It is important the union or its standards have influence throughout the industry to not put a just employer at a competitive disadvantage.

The best business labor model, however, is not a unionized shop but an employee owned business. Those businesses work very well and need no adversarial interplay between employee and employer for optimum productivity and fair treatment and compensation.

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 7 years 50 weeks ago

Queenbeethat'sme, a willfully absurd mischaracterization of communism.

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 7 years 50 weeks ago

Queenbeethat'sme, I replied to your last comment on the July 4th 1776 - The First Brexit blog post. Just so you'd know.

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 7 years 49 weeks ago

Queenbeethat'sme, you GOTTA do better than THAT! You do if you want your $20 bucks per post, LOL.

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