It is no coincidence that America has grown more unequal as its labor movement has lost power.

Economists since Adam Smith have recognized that, without organizing, workers cannot negotiate on equal terms with an employer — much less a large corporation.

In theory, workers individually negotiate their wages and benefits. In practice, they are presented a take-it-or-leave-it offer. Organized labor affords workers representation in the workplace and a more equal footing in negotiation, securing higher wages (up to 25 percent higher) and greater access to basic benefits like retirement, health and life insurance as well as paid leave.

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