Kevin Drum at Washington Monthly has some interesting observations about the decline of unions in the United States and its effects on wages.
Successive NLRB rulings, however, have steadily chipped away at labor rights and helped companies like Wal-Mart remain happily union free. That's good for big corporations who contribute to the Republican Party, but not so good for middle class workers who no longer have anyone to fight for pay raises and better working conditions. The result is the three-decade wage stagnation illustrated in the chart above.No more well paying, secure manufacturing jobs in the USA, so no more Unions either. But there are plenty of 'good' jobs at Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart supporters will argue that Union mediated high salaries drove manufacturers out of business and this is just a result of free trade. However, anyone that has done even a bit of reading will realize there is no such thing as free trade or we wouldn't have a Federal Trade Commission or National Labor Relations Board. Many manufacturers had little choice in the matter of exporting jobs overseas. Wal-Mart all but required that they do so. Charles Fishman explains it all in "The Wal-Mart Effect". Of course no one expects a rabid Wal-Mart supporter to read such a book because they automatically assume it was written by a "Wal-Mart hater". Nothing could be further from the truth. Fishman is a reporter and he tried to get Wal-Mart and it's suppliers to provide input into the book. Obviously they were not interested.