Whether the United States can emerge from the Great Recession to confront this massive long-range failure of the private sector to generate good jobs, reliable benefits, and rising incomes for the many will depend greatly on how well public sector unions are able to weather this perilous moment. With less than 7 percent of nongovernmental workers unionized, private sector unions no longer have the leverage to improve wages and benefits for those beyond their ranks. Thus, by default, public sector unions have become the single most effective social force capable of speaking out for a just economy that lifts the standards of all workers, public and private. To preserve their credibility and their ability to fight effectively for both their members and a fairer economy for all, the unions would be wise at this moment to show that they are prepared to make sacrifices where necessary, appropriate, and fair. In turn, all who seek a fairer economy have a stake in coming together to resist the radical effort to roll back public sector unionism that is now gaining ground.


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pp. 45-50
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