The ability for ordinary working people to organize and collectively bargain over their wages and working conditions is a fundamental human right. It is a right just as critical to a democratic society as the right to free speech and the right to vote. Over the last 30 years many in corporate America and the big Wall Street banks have conducted a sustained attack on that human right. Unionization dropped from 20.1 percent of the workforce in 1983 to 11. 3 percent in 2013 -- and the results are there for everyone to see. The simple fact is that absent government regulation and collective bargaining agreements, the market by itself does not assure that everyone shares in the fruits of society's increased economic productivity. In fact, we know that just the opposite is true.
Last week JPMorgan Chase's Board approved a 74 percent pay raise for its CEO, Jamie Dimon, for 2013. Sometimes we get numb to numbers like $20 million. To put it in perspective, in 2013, Dimon made $9,615 per hour. In other words, he made more in the first two hours of the first workday of the year than a minimum-wage worker made all year long.