Labor unions have historically used the power of collective bargaining to advocate for many of the rights we now take for granted. The 40-hour workweek, overtime pay, workplace safety regulations, and the right to organize and negotiate with employers are just a few things that wouldn’t exist in America if it weren’t for the struggle of organized labor. Allowing workers the ability to organize and advocate for themselves is one of, if not the single-most, crucial aspects of our capitalist economy. Unions level the playing field for workers, giving them leverage against their employers so they can advocate for fair treatment and good pay.
Some business leaders are anti-union, believing that they are a threat to the health (or the profits) of their companies, but that is misguided and short-term thinking. Business people and investors, including many of our Patriotic Millionaire members, make money selling to people who have enough money to buy things. We do not want to live in a country with a few rich people and lots of poor people; we can’t build businesses and invest there. We want to have a country with lots of people who are doing well and have enough money to pay for stuff.
It has already been demonstrated in states where workers are able to secure better wages and benefits for themselves that unions are beneficial to not only workers but also to local businesses and economies. The more money in the hands of working people, the more money circulates in the local economy. Better compensation for the working class serves to stimulate the economy much more effectively than inflated CEO pay or stock buybacks. And when higher wages for working people end up boosting the economy, even millionaires like ourselves benefit. It’s truly a win-win scenario.
The opposite side of that, the corporate attack on collective bargaining, is by the same logic bad for business at the end of the day. The implementation of right-to-work laws, deregulation of limits on corporations’ abilities to union bust, and anti-union court rulings has all been made possible by corporations and trade groups outspending unions by about 60 to 1 in political money for the last 20 years, and it’s left us all worse off. That is why we have seen government regulations severely interfere with the power of workers to collectively bargain and in the process seen our economy’s potential continually undercut.
Companies both big and small would do well to welcome unionization efforts. It’s not just about ethics and being kind to low-wage workers. It’s also just better business sense. Better-paid employees are more productive, more loyal and committed to their company’s success, and stay on the job longer. Paying workers more might cost money in the short term, but the businesses that do are far more profitable in the long term and far better able to weather the turbulence that comes with a free market.
Unions and worker empowerment are good not just for the workers themselves, but also for business owners and investors, and for our economy as a whole. That’s why we unequivocally support the rise in union campaigns and are thrilled to see union activity popping up in companies under the leadership of some of the nation’s wealthiest. When workers are doing better and have more money in their pockets, everyone benefits.
If we want a stable, prosperous economy in America, we need organized labor.