Monday, September 14, 2015

Corporations holding onto more of their profits

Everyday Americans continue to struggle to earn enough to keep a roof over their heads and pay the bills. As has been stated repeatedly in this space, part of the problem is the thousands-upon-thousands of jobs that have been shipped overseas due to lousy trade deals. In return, displaced workers are forced to accept low-wage employment, making it nearly impossible to make ends meet.

But that's not the entire story. Evidently, it seems corporations have been holding out on their employees. A new Economic Policy Institute report finds that less company income is going to pay workers in the last 15 years: 
Between 2000 and the second quarter of 2015, the share of income generated by corporations that went to workers’ wages (instead of going to capital incomes like profits) declined from 82.3 percent to 75.5 percent, as the figure shows. This 6.8 percentage-point decline in labor’s share of corporate income might not seem like a lot, but if labor’s share had not fallen this much, employees in the corporate sector would have $535 billion more in their paychecks today. If this amount was spread over the entire labor force (not just corporate sector employees) this would translate into a $3,770 raise for each worker.
How is this right or just at a time when many are slipping out of the middle class even as they work full-time or in some cases multiple jobs? What is shows, unfortunately, is the outsized role that big business' campaign cash plays in the policy-making process.

Workers deserve dignity and respect in the workplace, and the chance to earn a fair wage for an honest days work. That is happening less and less, unfortunately. Which is why the Teamsters rolled out a platform earlier this month called "Let's Get America Working" that addresses the needs of creating better paying jobs and protecting workers in the job, among other things.

The U.S. cannot afford to leave the majority of its citizens behind. But that's what is happening right now. Only when a bipartisan majority of lawmakers come together to challenge corporate America and ensure that more good jobs are made available will that change.