Center for American Progress

Middle Classes Are Stronger in States with Greater Union Membership
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Middle Classes Are Stronger in States with Greater Union Membership

New Census Bureau data underscore how critical unions are in building strong middle classes across the country.

Long Island Rail Road President Helena Williams signed a labor agreement with local private-sector unions on September 17, 2013. (Flickr/Metropolitan Transportation Authority)
Long Island Rail Road President Helena Williams signed a labor agreement with local private-sector unions on September 17, 2013. (Flickr/Metropolitan Transportation Authority)

Read the full column (CAP Action)

Data on state household incomes released yesterday by the U.S. Census Bureau illustrate once again just how critical unions are in building a strong middle class, as states with greater union membership continued to have more robust middle classes than those with lower union membership in 2012.

Maintaining a strong and vibrant middle class is essential for all states, as prosperous middle-class households are among the most powerful drivers of economic growth and among the most critical contributors to economic mobility.

Labor unions strengthen the middle class by advocating for workers’ interests both in the workplace and in the political arena. By fighting for fair wages and basic benefits, as well as defending programs such as Social Security and the minimum wage, organized labor helps promote upward mobility for all workers and ensures that our democracy works for the middle class. As today’s data make clear, unions fulfill this essential role not only at the national level but at the state level as well.

Read the full column (CAP Action)

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Authors

David Madland

Senior Fellow; Senior Adviser, American Worker Project

Keith Miller

Senior Research Associate

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