As unions decline, inequality increases

March 28, 2014 | 11:28 am

The argument over right-to-work legislation seems to be, at the emotional level, whether or not union leadership is over compensated. The top two union dues expenditures are, no doubt, leadership salaries and political (read Democratic Party) contributions.

As a former member of two of the largest unions in the country, I was frustrated at how little opportunity I had to influence either of those uses of my dues. However, I had zero influence on how much management was compensated and how much corporate money, which I had helped create with my labor, went to political (read Republican Party) contributions.

One free-market economic basic that does not get enough attention by the media: If most Americans do not have enough discretionary income to buy it, the stuff that wealthy corporations produce will just sit in inventory.

Everyone does better if the 75 percent in the middle do better. Because corporate structures are not designed to pay higher wages without pressure, it takes unions to improve the economic well-being of the work force. Look at our history: As unions decline, inequality increases.

The big discount stores, fast food restaurants, nurses, etc., should be unionized to improve the lives of us all. Will some union bosses get overpaid? Sure. But so will many corporate executives.

Right-to-work laws work against a better life for the vast majority.

LeRoy Barnhart

Edgewood

 

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