Labor Day is set aside to celebrate the social and economic achievements of American workers. It was proposed as a holiday by Matthew Maguire in 1882 while he served as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York, NY. The labor movement grew out of the need to protect the common interest of workers in the areas of better wages, reasonable hours, and safer working conditions. It also led efforts to stop child labor, offer health benefits, and provide aid to workers who were injured or retired.1
Pew Research reports union membership peaked in 1954 when 34 percent of American workers belonged to unions. In 2017, just 10.7 percent of workers were union members.2
A slight majority of Americans (51 percent) believes the decrease in unionization has had more negative effects than positive ones, and about one-third (35 percent) believes the change has been mostly positive.2
The Economist recently reported the changing balance of power between workers and companies may be the reason wages have been slow to increase in recent years saying, “…this rise in firms’ power may reduce labor’s share of national income by as much as a fifth.”3
Politicians have been proposing other ways to empower workers. The Economist wrote:3
“Unions are not the only way to boost worker power. More radical ideas like a universal basic income – a welfare payment made to everyone regardless of work status – or a jobs guarantee, which extends the right to a government job paying a decent wage to everyone, would shift power to workers and force firms to work harder to retain employees…Economists are unlikely to cheer such proposals.”
Labor Day is a good time to think about the role and value of workers in our economy. This is also a good time to review your financial plan and do some year-end tax planning with your financial professional. Give us a call soon!
This material was prepared by Carson Group Coaching. Carson Group Coaching is not affiliated with the named broker/dealer.