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Published: November, 2012; Vol 9, Num 6

 

Unions and the Middle Class:

Infographics Tell Stories with Pictures

If you spend much time on the internet, you've undoubtedly noticed the mushrooming number of infographics.

Making their point with pictures, graphs and diagrams, infographics usually present a variety of inter-related information in a connected series of vertical panels.

With the elections on deck next week, Laborers and signatory contractors may find a number of recently published infographics of interest. These pertain to the wellbeing of the middle class and the roles that unions, union employers and government action play in sustaining middle class prosperity. Here are a few:

  • The Center for American Progress Action Fund offers Six Ways Unions Build a Strong Middle Class. Dividing the list in two, the infographic demonstrates how unions give workers more power in the economy and in government.
  • University of Iowa professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies Colin Gordon has produced a series of particularly interesting infographics that portray their data through video presentations. The videos allow the data to come into view as a voiceover explains their meaning. Among the most compelling of these are Unions and Shared Prosperity, Right to Work Laws, The Real Minimum Wage and Union Decline and Income Inequality in the States.
  • Taking on the relationship of government activity (and spending) to workplace safety and health, In These Times published Workplace Fatality Data. The infographic charts fatalities by state, cause, occupation, age, gender and native versus foreign-born status. It also provides a revealing comparison of OSHA spending relative to fatalities over the last 20 years. It concludes with a series of graphics that portray the challenges OSHA faces in pursuing its mission.
  • One of the granddaddies of infographics is The Construction Chart Book from CPWR. This book provides a comprehensive, varied array of graphical information about the construction industry, including wage rates and benefits relative to union status. Too expansive for a mere inforgraphic, the content is nevertheless available for free download (it can be purchased in book format for $15).

Many of these provide a Facebook link so that they can be readily shared with friends and family. With the election coming next week, this may be the time to share one that stirs your interest while adding a personal note about the importance of getting to the polls and voting.

You may also be interested in the short (1 min 40 sec) satirical election video prepared by LIUNA, Romneystein.

[Steve Clark]