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Research Roundup

With the Labor Day holiday about to start, the news from the research front for workers is not good:

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities finds that poverty is higher and median income for the non-elderly is lower than when the recession was at its worst.   For the first time in recorded history, poverty is higher in the fourth year of an economic recovery than when it began. 

The Economic Policy Institute emphasizes the same trend and that this drop in median family income comes at the same time that economic growth is up significantly, as is productivity, meaning that workers are producing more but only the wealthy are seeing an increase in income due to that increased work -- part of the widening of inequality in the economy.

An in-depth report by the New York Times analyzed the relation between dropping wages and rising corporate profits-- and found that wages and salaries have been dropping as a share of the economy, while corporate profits have climbed to their highest share since the 1960’s.  Even benefits, which had been rising in past years, did not keep up with inflation this past year.

New surveys by the AFL-CIO and Change to Win labor federations have both found Americans pessimistic about the economy and believing that their children will be worse off economically than their parents.

Adding to the problem of workers is a National Labor Relations Board that has consistently undermined workers rights in recent years-- and American Rights At Work notes the NLRB is poised to decide a number of cases that could further weaken labor rights.  It doesn't have to be that way, as ARAW highlights in is Labor Day List of "Partnerships that Work" between unions and businesses where employers and employees work together for a better life for everyone.

And as part of your Labor Day celebration, check out the AFL-CIO's Labor Day 2006 with links to a range of resources on labor in America.