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Building Union Power

Union members throughout the United States are under attack. The number of unionized workers has been on a decline for decades. Unionized public employees are being blamed for the bad decisions made by politicians that led to huge state budget deficits.

Corporate America has succeeded in taking back everything that unions have won for workers over the decades. They have eliminated pensions, healthcare benefits and good wages in the private sector. America’s private-sector economy these days consists mainly of low-wage, no-benefits, non-union service and retail jobs.

Now, they are coming after public employees, who still have a 36.2 percent union membership rate, compared to 6.9 percent in the private sector.

It’s important for everyone, including non-unionized workers, to get the facts: Unions protect workers, raise the standard of living for everyone and serve as a voice for working families across the country. Here, you’ll find information about why unions are important in the workplace and in politics, why unions are good for the middle class, and what you can do to counter the attacks on working families.

Part 1: Workers under attack across the country
Public employee unions are under attack across the country as states struggle to close budget gaps and politicians look for someone to blame...More
Part 2: Big Money spends and spins to fight working families
Many corporate political groups and the politicians they support want to silence the voice of working families and eliminate the power workers have when they organize together...More

Part 3: The link between the middle class and union membership
Historically, unions have not only built the middle class by negotiating fair wages and good benefits for their members, but also by helping  pass labor laws that benefit all workers...More


Part 4: Depending on member activism
Unions advocate for worker-friendly legislation and recruit volunteers to precinct walk and phone bank for political candidates that back all working families...More

More information:

"Proud To Be Union" Flier (PDF 124KB)
Download CSEA's "Proud to be Union" flier and put your union pride on dislplay.

Koch Brothers key players in anti-union movement
Billionaire businessmen David and Charles Koch have been a driving force in the movement to strip public employees of their rights to collectively bargain.

Get the truth about the Paycheck Deception Initiative
This initiative petition is designed to silence the voices of working people and strengthen the political influence of giant corporations. 

Head of right-wing group controls politicians
Grover Norquist, head of the right-wing Amercicans For Tax Reform, has been able to hold politicians at all levels hostage with the mere threat of not providing his group’s support during the next election cycle.

Corporate Tax Rates (PDF 22KB)
Corporate America wants the public to believe that the United States has one of the world’s highest corporate tax rates and that’s why they oppose corporate tax increase. The truth is that the share of corporate taxes is lower in the United States than in other industrialized nations. Unions support politicians who demand that corporations pay their fair share in taxes.

Tax Disparity (PDF 24KB)
In California, not only has the tax burden shifted to individual taxpayers and away from corporations, but the lowest income households also pay the largest share of their income in state and local taxes.

Union Membership Rates (PDF 44KB)
It’s no coincidence that the decline of the middle class runs parallel with the drop in private sector union membership. In 2010, only 11.9 percent of American workers were unionized. This chart shows union membership rates by state. States with larger union membership rates – such as California -- tend to elect more worker-friendly legislators.

U.S. Wealth Distribution (PDF 33KB)
This graph shows that the richest 1 percent of Americans holds more than one third of the country’s wealth. Unions support the middle class by demanding a good wage for an honest day’s work. Income inequality increases as unions disappear.

Union Power