This graphic examines the relationship between the share of income that goes to the top 10% and the portion of workers who belong to unions. Note how the rich take a larger portion of all income when unionization rates are low, and take a smaller share when union membership is high. It’s no coincidence that today, when inequality and the incomes of those at the top are at all-time highs, union membership is at historic lows.
It’s not the entire story, but it does provide insight into a key source of our growing inequality. And it also points to a realistic strategy to reverse the trend, one that doesn’t require politicians to fix it for us. If more workers (even those with college degrees and white collar jobs) formed unions, it would go a long way to making our society more equitable.