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Opening Remarks - Larry Cohen

Larry Cohen, Communications Workers of America

Presentation summary

  • Wages and compensation are not keeping pace with productivity growth
    • Since mid 1970s, productivity steadily increasing while average hourly compensation and wage are flat
  • Growing inequality in US
    • Increase in share of income for top 1% in US
  • One of many reasons of growing income inequality: elimination of bargaining rights in the US
    • Declining bargaining coverage trend in US accelerated past 40 years
    • Unionized workers, through collective bargaining, are able to gain a greater share of productivity in the forms of higher wages and benefits
    • US collective bargaining coverage lagging behind its global competitors
  • Need to invest in the fundamentals – US infrastructure and people
    • For example: invest in broadband, manufacturing, clean energy and reform US trade agreements to create fair playing field for US workers
    • Restore collective bargaining rights
    • Need demand-driven path to recovery and long-term growth based in broad-based distribution of nation’s prosperity