Thursday, September 15, 2011

Fewer unions = More poverty

The face of Georgia poverty. Peach picker, 1936.
Guest blogger Ben Speight, organizing director for Teamsters Local 728 in Atlanta, Ga., brings us this post today:

Unions keep people out of poverty. This comes as no surprise to proud union members and our families. But recent data from the U.S government makes the point even clearer.

Let’s look at my home state, Georgia, as a case in point. The new data shows that Georgia has the third highest poverty rate in the U.S. (1.83 million people), its highest rate of poor folks since 1983.

Fact is, many of these people are working, but are stuck in low-paying, non-union jobs. In the BLS report released earlier this year, Georgia is tied for the second lowest union member density rate in the U.S.-- with only 4 percent of all employed workers being union members in 2010.

Again, that’s the second lowest union density and the third highest poverty rate. Connection, anyone?