Champions of a more egalitarian society made important strides, building the power of workers while reducing the power of wealthy tax dodgers and greedy pharma execs.

By Sarah Anderson,

Congratulations to everyone who worked to move the country and the world towards greater equity in 2022. Herewith are 10 of the most inspiring economic inequality victories of the year.

chris smalls amazon union leader with megaphone

1. The Union Boom

No question. The union organizing surge has been this year’s top story. Petitions for union representation jumped 53 percent over 2021. What made the surge truly historic? The explosion of activity in workplaces once considered hopeless for unionization.

Warehouse workers shook the foundation of Amazon, prevailing against harsh intimidation tactics to win the first U.S. union election at the e-commerce giant and building campaigns in several other states, most recently in Minnesota.

A survey commissioned by the Institute for Policy Studies found that nearly two-thirds of local residents support the ongoing Black worker-led union drive at an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama – a remarkable shift in what’s been historically a fiercely anti-union state.

Starbucks baristas busted the myth that fast food workers are impossible to organize. They voted union in at least 260 stores and inspired comrades at Chipotle and elsewhere.

Now the overpaid CEOs at Amazon and Starbucks need to negotiate fair contracts with these employees. The top execs at both companies grabbed far more than 1,000 times as much as their company’s median worker pay in 2021.

Union power can both raise worker wages – and rein in excessive wealth at the top. In the middle of the 20th century, as our Sam Pizzigati points out, unions helped “flatten grand private plutocratic fortunes.”

2. Taxing the Rich

Remember the heady days of 2021 when the Build Back Better negotiations had a billionaire tax and other bold inequality-busting tax proposals in play, all with strong public support? When Republicans and two Democratic Senators blocked that deal, I thought we’d have to wait until 2024 before seeing any progress on the fair taxation front. But 2022 saw some important victories – at the federal, state, and municipal levels.

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