New Study Shows Decline of Union Power Causing Wage Inequality

Sept. 12, 2016
Study says real wages for private-sector workers barely have risen over the past three and a half decades, in contrast with the post-World War II period when workers saw greater pay increases.

Union bargaining power has been on a steady decline for decades and nonunion workers’ wallets are feeling the effects, according to a new study.

Private-sector men, in particular, are seeing lower wages and benefits as unionization continues to decline.

“The analytical approaches summarized in this report enable us to assess the independent effects of union decline on wages and lend confidence to our core contention that private-sector union decline since the late 1970s has contributed to substantial wage losses among workers who do not belong to a union,” the report’s executive summary stated.

The report was authored by Jake Rosenfeld, associate professor of Sociology at Washington University, Patrick Denice, postdoctoral research associate at Washington University and Jennifer Laird, postdoctoral research scientist at the Center on Poverty and Social Policy at Columbia University.

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