Resources on the Importance of Unions from
The Importance of Unions in Building — and Rebuilding — the Middle Class
David Madland, Karla Walter and Nick Bunker. 2011. Unions Make the Middle Class.
Washington, D.C.: Center for American Progress. Available online March 31, 2011: www.americanprogress.org.
This comprehensive report explains how unions act to raise wages and benefits for all workers, give the middle class a voice in corporate decision
making, promote greater political participation and help to build career ladders for working families.
Matt Vidal with David Kusnet. 2009. Organizing Prosperity: Union Effects on Job Quality, Community Betterment, and Industry Standards. Washington, D.C.: Economic Policy Institute. Available online: www.epi.org/publications/entry/book_organizing_prosperity.
This book tells the story of how unions have improved living and working conditions for workers in multiple industries, from hospitality workers in Las Vegas to technology workers at AT&T and child care workers in Pennsylvania.
AFL-CIO. What the Freedom to Join Unions Means to America’s Workers and the Middle Class. Available online: www.aflcio.org/joinaunion/voiceatwork/efca/upload/freedom_union.pdf.
This fact sheet shows the way out of the economic crisis must include restoring workers’ freedom to form unions, speak for themselves and negotiate for a fair share of the wealth they create.
Harley Shaiken and David Madland. 2008. Issue Brief: Unions Are Good for the Economy and Democracy. Available online: www.americanprogress.org/issues/2008/12/efca_brief.html.
This brief statement summarizes how unions are beneficial to the economy and are good for democracy.
Lawrence Mishel with Matthew Walters. 2003. Briefing Paper: How Unions Help All Workers. Washington, D.C.: Economic Policy Institute. Available online: www.epi.org/publications/entry/briefingpapers_bp143/.
The economic analysis in this report shows that unions reduce wage inequality by setting a standard many nonunion employers follow and by playing an important role in securing labor protections through legislative action.
Lawrence Mishel. 2007. The Right to Organize, Freedom, and the Middle Class Squeeze.
Available online: www.epi.org/publications/entry/webfeatures_efca_testimony_20070326.
In this testimony to a U.S. Senate committee hearing, an economist explains how unions promote opportunity and fairness in the workplace while reducing income inequality in the national economy.
Workers’ Rights as Human Rights: The State of Our Freedom to Join Unions and Bargain Collectively
International Commission for Labor Rights. 2011. Collective Bargaining Rights are Fundamental Human Rights—Denying Them is Illegal. Available online: http://nlg-laboremploy-comm.org/media/ICLR_legal_analysis_on_collective_bargaining_rights_.pdf.
This brief statement documents how courts and agencies around the world have held that collective bargaining in the public sector is a fundamental right and essential element of the freedom of association guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and international law.
Human Rights Watch. 2000. Unfair Advantage: Workers’ Freedom of Association in the United States under International Human Rights Standards. Available online: www.hrw.org/legacy/reports/2000/uslabor.
This comprehensive report provides greater detail on the freedom of association under international law. It provides case studies of how employers have violated the freedom of association in U.S. workplaces that employ service workers and manufacturing employees.
Fighting for Workers’ Right to Organize & Collectively Bargain. Tools and resources by Jobs with Justice. Available online: www.jwj.org/campaigns/workers.html.
Hart Research Associates. 2009. Public Opinion Regarding the Employee Free Choice Act, National Survey Results.
Available online: www.aflcio.org/joinaunion/voiceatwork/efca/upload/Employee_Free_Choice_Act_polling_memo_1.pdf.
This poll shows the vast majority of U.S. adults agree it is important to have laws that give employees the freedom to join a union and bargain collectively with employers.
Richard B. Freeman. 2007. Do Workers Still Want Unions? More Than Ever. Washington, D.C.: Economic Policy Institute.
Available online: www.sharedprosperity.org/bp182.html.
This briefing paper by a Harvard economist shows that 85 percent to 90 percent of workers want to have more say in their workplaces, with the proportion of workers who want unions increasing significantly over the previous 10 years.