What about other union benefits. The AFL-CIO reports 88 percent of workers in unions participate in pension plans versus 49 percent of nonunion workers. Seventy-seven percent of union workers have guaranteed pensions, compared with 17 percent of nonunion workers. Roughly 84 percent of workers in unions have paid sick leave compared with 62 percent of nonunion workers.
Stop and imagine what life would be like for most Americans if all workers belonged to labor unions, and then answer this: Who benefits when workers are earning $200 less a month—the workers, bosses or billionaires?
Let me help you with the answer: There are 536 billionaires (0.00016% of the population) in America; 9.63 million (3%) with a net worth of $1 million or more leaving more than 138 million (almost 44% of the population) working Americans with a net worth that’s less than $1 million who rely on that weekly or monthly pay check. Note: About 23% of the population is children and 14.5% are over the age of 65.
Let’s put that another way: There are almost 123 million households in the United States. In 2010, the poverty threshold was $22,314 for a family of four.
In 2013, 12.7% (15.6 million) of households earned under $15,000; 22.3% (27.4 million) earn $15,000 – $24.999; 20.4% (25 million) earn $25,000 – $34.999; 13.6% (17.7 million) earn $25,000 – $49,999; 17.6% (21.6 million) earn $50,000 – $75,999; 11.9% (14.6 million) earn $75,000-$99,999; 12.4% ($15.2 million) earn $100,000 – $149,999; 5.3% (6.5 million) earn $150,000 – $199,999, and 4.8% (5.9 million) earn $200,000 and over. – census.gov (2013)
In addition, Mother Jones.com reported that the top 0.01% (12,300) families in the United States earn almost $25 million each on average annually compared to $29,840 for the bottom 90% (110.7 million families).
In conclusion, the evidence strongly suggests that there are NOT enough union workers in the United States to be a factor that would lead to higher unemployment rates or real estate values just because they get paid a few hundred more a month on average—no matter what the millionaires or billionaire oligarchs claim through their puppets, politicians and propaganda. Don’t forget, union workers earn more and have better benefits, because they have someone fighting for them—evidence that unions are doing their job.
Food for thought: In 1900, before there were strong labor unions and the Robber Barons ruled over most of America with corporate monopolies, 40% of Americans lived in poverty. And what about countries that have high labor union membership—for instance, three countries with the highest labor union membership in the world: Sweden and Denmark with 95% union membership and Finland with 85% membership. What do these countries have in common?
The answer: Sweden, Denmark and Finland all made the world’s 10 happiest countries list (the U.S. isn’t on this list) , according to this year’s World Happiness Report, that looks at earnings, living standards, employment, mental health and family stability. The report surveyed 158 countries
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Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).
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