It is time to stop bashing unions. There is no other method to ensure that working-class people receive decent wages, safe working conditions, and voice on the job. Unions representation helps workers receive a fair share of the income that their work generates for business.
The past four decades have been grim for the American labor movement. The percentage of workers enrolled in unions has been dropping since the 1970s.
But things are changing. Over the past year, large numbers of American workers have gone on strike. Fast food workers in over 100 cities have demanded a base wage of $15 per hour and the right to form a union. Walmart employees forged their campaign against the world’s largest private employer. And low-wage, federally contracted workers attracted the support of over 60 sitting members of Congress, and campaigns across the country for a higher minimum wage. These campaigns represent a new era in labor organizing.
The AFL-CIO and SEIU are also expanding their organizations for supporting low-wage, non-traditional workers’ campaigns. SEIU has acted as a key supporter of the fast food strikers and the AFL-CIO intends to expand its organization Working America into every state in America.
We must reach out to the new generations of workers who experience lousy pay, little or no healthcare benefits and no pensions to revive the ranks of unions members…..and there are plenty of them out there to organize.
36 things Unions Made Possible?
- Weekends without work
- All breaks at work, including your lunch breaks
- Paid vacation
- Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
- Sick leave
- Social Security
- Minimum wage
- Civil Rights Act/Title VII – prohibits employer discrimination
- 8-hour work day
- Overtime pay
- Child labor laws
- Occupational Safety & Health Act (OSHA)
- 40-hour work week
- Workers’ compensation (workers’ comp)
- Unemployment insurance
- Workplace safety standards and regulations
- Employer health care insurance
- Collective bargaining rights for employees
- Wrongful termination laws
- Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA)
- Whistleblower protection laws
- Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA) – prohibits employers from using a lie detector test on an employee
- Veteran’s Employment and Training Services (VETS)
- Compensation increases and evaluations (i.e. raises)
- Sexual harassment laws
- Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)
- Holiday pay
- Employer dental, life, and vision insurance
- Privacy rights
- Pregnancy and parental leave
- Military leave
- The right to strike
- Public education for children
- Equal Pay Acts of 1963 & 2011 – requires employers pay men and women equally for the same amount of work
- Laws ending sweatshops in the United States