The complete collapse of unions would have devastating consequences. The labor movement has played a crucial role in advancing economic justice in the workplace and in politics. Union membership raises median weekly earnings and reduces race- and gender-based income gaps, and union workers are much more likely to receive health care and pension benefits than workers who are not members of a labor union. The decline of organized labor is directly linked to the rise in economic inequality over the last 40 years and the onset of a ?Second Gilded Age.? The decline in union density coupled with the decline in the real value of the minimum wage explains one-third of the dramatic growth in wage inequality since the early 1970s.