MissLaura put up this front-page post at Daily Kos today about why unions matter. She linked to Change to Win, which has all kinds of useful statistics on its website. Click the link to find charts illustrating that "Union Workers Earn More," "Union Members Have Better Benefits," "Union Members Pay Less for Health Coverage," and so on.
If Barack Obama becomes president, I hope he will follow through on promises to make it easier for workers to organize in this country. Replacing some of the corporate hacks George Bush has put on the National Labor Relations Board would be a step in the right direction. The Bush administration has used the NLRB to carry out a "systematic assault on workers' rights."
In the good news column, Shai Sachs reported in this post at MyDD that union membership appears to be slowly inching up, reversing a long decline.
But remember, just being in a union doesn't guarantee that a worker will receive promised benefits. As I wrote a few weeks ago, Maytag retirees are probably going to lose health benefits guaranteed in their last contract. On the other hand, if they hadn't been in a union, it's a good bet they never would have had those benefits to begin with.