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MAY DAY CHARTS: We Don’t Currently Reward Our Workers

By Annie-Rose Strasser  

"MAY DAY CHARTS: We Don’t Currently Reward Our Workers"

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via Occuprint

The 99 Percent Movement is bringing May Day, the worldwide annual celebration of labor, to the United States today with protests in over 135 cities. The theme of the protests is “A Day Without the 99 Percent,” and occupiers are encouraging people to spend the day outside of the U.S. economy. According to the May Day organizing site for New York, “It’s a day to recognize the value of our work, and the power we have to collectively change our working conditions and our world.”

It’s true that the 99 percent make up the majority of workers in all the industries for which America is known. Farming, manufacturing, and transportation, to name just a few, wouldn’t survive without the working people who carry the burden of productivity in those fields. Manufacturing alone makes up 20.3 percent of the labor force. But rewarding those workers is a different question. Currently, there seems good reason for workers to feel they are being under-recognized. Just take a look at these three charts:

1. The 99 percent are extremely productive workers, but aren’t compensated for their productivity. While productivity has been on the rise among workers, average wage and compensation has remained nearly flat. That means while workers are producing more, they’re being compensated the same. This chart from the Economic Policy Institute details the change:

2. Corporations don’t notice income inequality, but workers sure do. The 99 percent may be pivotal in the productivity of a company, but they aren’t reaping any of the benefits of success. This chart from the New York Times illustrates exactly how companies profit while workers do not:

3. Workers who don’t organize are getting the short end of the stick. While productivity goes up and wages stay flat, the middle class sees itself shrinking. This income inequality is in direct correlation to union participation. As union membership falls, the middle class shrinks.

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