What is there to celebrate this Labor Day for the average American? We live in troubled times and many of us in the United States are increasingly anxious or angry as we see the American Dream slipping away right before our eyes as the middle-class shrinks and the gap between the very rich and the rest of us continues to grow.
Of course things weren’t always so discouraging for working folks and, as recently as the middle of the twentieth century, what Robert Reich has called the “great compression” helped build the American middle class to its historic zenith as people saw their wages increase, their educational and economic opportunities expand, and their political power grow as the government responded to increasing pressure from below and employers felt the need to compromise with rather than put the screws to their workforces.
While many people have a vague nostalgia for the times before the great unraveling of economic security for most Americans, many have forgotten what helped make the good old days for the middle class good: unions. [Read more…]