The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

What wins higher wages... and what doesn’t

Dec 17, 2007

For years, union leaders argued that being in a union guaranteed higher wages. In fact, it was always more complicated than that. But at least that’s what all the statistics showed.

Now even the statistics are pointing to something different.

In the last quarter of 2006, wage increases for union workers turned out to be less than those for non-union workers. In 2007, it got worse. The average wage and benefit increase for non-union workers was about 3% while for union workers only 2%.

On average, workers in unions still earn more than those not in unions. But that gap is closing, as the wages of union workers drop to those of those of non-union workers.

Because what wins higher wages are the workers joining together in common struggle in order to impose the workers’ interests on the bosses. And the fact that for a very long time, the union leaders have given up on that struggle in favor of “cooperation” and “partnership” with bosses everywhere, is bearing very bitter fruit.