Center for American Progress

Unions Are Among the Very Few Interest Groups that Represent the Middle Class
Article

Unions Are Among the Very Few Interest Groups that Represent the Middle Class

Unions provide the middle class a much-needed voice in the policymaking process, and their decline portends further trouble for most Americans.

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Buried deep inside Princeton University political scientist Martin Gilens’ research highlighting the excessive influence the rich have on modern U.S. politics, there is a hidden gem exploring which interest groups best represent the priorities of the middle class. Gilens found that, while most powerful interest groups advocate for policies that predominately benefit their narrowly defined members, relatively few focus on policies that the middle class supports. According to Gilens, most of these middle-class oriented groups are unions, which is a big problem for the United States, as unions have been declining in membership and losing power for decades.

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Authors

David Madland

Senior Fellow; Senior Adviser, American Worker Project

Danielle Corley

Research Associate, Women's Economic Policy