Washington, D.C. — Today, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released new data concerning union membership in the United States. The data show a loss of 240,000 union members in 2016. David Madland, Senior Advisor to the American Worker Project at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, released the following statement:
Now more than ever, workers need a real say in the economy and in politics. Even though the majority of Americans support labor unions, attacks by right-wing politicians have hurt the only real voice that workers control. Union membership, which has been on the decline for years as a result of these tactics, dropped even farther this past year. Now, President Donald Trump and his Republican allies in Congress are poised to take the right-wing, anti-union agenda—carried out at the state level by politicians such as Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R)—nationwide. Trump’s nomination of Andrew Puzder, whose speeches and writings have revealed an almost unending hostility toward workers, for labor secretary is just the tip of the iceberg in the coming war on working class Americans.
Collective bargaining not only raises wages and reduces inequality, but it also brings democracy to the workplace, preparing workers to participate in the political process more broadly. In order to raise wages and maintain a functioning democracy, we need to not only stop these attacks on unions but also support an agenda that rebuilds worker voice and power.
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