Economic anxiety and inequality is contributing (as it always does) to the rise of right-wing, anti-immigrant, xenophobic and racist politics. Many of the people most hurt by the decline of unions are turning to the very politicians who want to kill unions off for good.
Economic anxiety can cause people to do things that are against their self-interest. Economic anxiety can make people resent people who are doing better than they are. How often do you hear someone complain about “the people in the damn unions” getting pay, pension plans and other benefits that they don’t get? Lately this has been especially focused on government employee, police and teachers unions, and the “cost” of their pensions, but it is an ongoing complaint generally. For some reason, it doesn’t occur to the complainers that instead of being against unions they should join a union, too.
On this Labor Day, it’s worth considering a new study that shows that these “damn unions” raise the pay for everyone, not just the union members.