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States with Stronger Unions Have Stronger Middle Classes
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States with Stronger Unions Have Stronger Middle Classes

Strengthening organized labor is one of the most important steps to help rebuild our middle class.

A coalition of New York City unions rally for a
A coalition of New York City unions rally for a "March for the Middle Class" across the Brooklyn Bridge to City Hall in 2011. Union membership provides an income boost to middle-class families and is good for economic growth. (AP/Bebeto Matthews)

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New Census Bureau data on state incomes released yesterday show just how important unions are to creating a strong middle class. An update to an analysis in our April 2011 report, “How Unions Make the Middle Class,” finds that a 10-percentage-point increase in the unionization rate would boost the average annual income for middle-class households—unionized or not—by $1,501 a year. Ensuring the United States has a strong middle class is critical, as the middle class is the engine of economic growth.

Unions strengthen the middle class by advocating for workers both in the workplace and in our democracy. Organized labor not only fights for higher wages and better benefits at work but it also makes democracy work for the middle class and advocates for policies that boost the middle class as a whole. As the new Census data make clear, stronger unions create a strong middle class not only at the national level but at the state level, as well.

Read the full column here (CAPAF)

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Authors

David Madland

Senior Fellow; Senior Adviser, American Worker Project

Nick Bunker

Research Associate

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