American workers understand that today’s economy is not working for them. The benefits of increased productivity and economic growth are largely accruing to a wealthy few, not the majority of workers. Over the past 40 years, incomes for the richest 1 percent have more than tripled, while the incomes of the bottom 90 percent have barely grown faster than inflation. Four decades ago, CEOs made roughly 30 times what the typical worker made, but now they make around 275 times more than the typical worker. This situation is not only bad for workers, but it also poses a threat to our future economic growth as well as our democracy.
Numerous reforms are necessary to raise wages, reduce inequality, and make democracy work for all Americans—including reforms that lessen the influence of money in politics, promote full employment, raise the minimum wage, and improve workplace standards. But among the most important reforms are those that give workers ways to band together and have a strong collective voice. State and local governments have an important role to play in this crucial reform effort.This article was originally published in CAP Action.