An article from the NY Times on falling wages in America. And it's worse than the data show for ordinary Americans because even the reduced wages paid out are paid at a higher and higher share to the CEO and other already highly compensated individuals. For the middle class and poor it's really falling off.
If wages aren't going to go up even when profits are at record levels, when will they? The answer is they won't go up until workers figure out a way to strengthen their bargaining position. It doesn't matter that profits are high. What matters is management has workers isolated, and so they are going to continuously press to reduce compensation regardless of the profits. They'll use low profits as an excuse to cut wages, and then when profits return they just won't give wages back, or possibly will continue to cut. They can, so they will. That's natural. If you stand alone you can't resist their concentrated power, and workers today stand alone now that unions have been mostly undermined. But if you join together you can resist them.
It's the only way to stop the trend. Organization. And that's why unions are demonized so extensively in corporate sources (media, right wing think tanks), and why people who so desperately need unions hate them regardless and perceive them to be the problem. Unions are a threat to the short term profits of investors, so the propaganda apparatus is paid to criticize them. The propaganda has been very effective, even with the very people who need unions most.
We know unions work. Unions ended child labor, created weekends, created safe working conditions, created the 40 hour work week, all things that don't exist in the third world where right wing anti-union policies have been imposed for so long. These weren't gifts from above. People organized and fought for them. Why should the owner want to spend money and create a safer environment? He's not going to give it to you. You have to demand it, and to do that you have to organize. It's the same pattern I see not only in the US, but in every other country I've looked to. You have to give the owner an incentive to make a concession. Threaten his revenue stream.
Our choices are to sit back, fail to organize, and watch things continue as before or organize, fight back, and once again see ordinary people share in the wealth generated in this country. There's really no other alternative.