From shipping to staffing, the Chamber and its partners have the tools to save your business money and the solutions to help you run it more efficiently. Join the U.S. Chamber of Commerce today to start saving.
A big part of public policy debates involves countering misleading claims. In this regular feature, I highlight important facts about the key issues being debated around Washington, D.C.
Claim: Decline in union membership has caused middle class wage stagnation.
What you need to know: Many pundits, politicians, and policymakers have embraced this idea. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka typifies this thinking when he writes, “Over the last 40 years, as union membership has declined, so has the share of middle class income.”
This belief also resonates in the Obama administration. Labor Secretary Tom Perez cites data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) that union households have higher wages than nonunion households.
While these claims imply that being a member of a union will lead to higher wages, the data do not support it. BLS notes that comparisons between union and nonunion wages are “on a broad level and do not control for many factors that can be important in explaining earnings differences. … This earnings difference reflects a variety of influences including variations in the distributions of union members and nonunion employees by occupation, industry, age, firm size or geographic region.” In short, gross comparisons of data prove nothing.