Jobs, jobs, jobs. It’s the topic on the forefront of everyone’s minds and is the issue likely defining the upcoming presidential election. Too many workers are toiling in jobs that don’t pay enough to support their families, and too many can’t find work at all. As middle-class jobs become more scarce, and newly created jobs lack the wages and benefits of long-term employment, we’re headed toward even greater income inequality.
Offering a way forward, more than 20 leading labor and economic policy organizations – including American Rights at Work and Jobs with Justice – released a plan today offering 10 solid solutions to strengthen America’s economy and rebuild the middle class.
One commonsense proposal in the report includes the recommendation to ensure that public policy upholds the freedom for all workers to stick together and choose to be represented by unions to improve their working conditions. Currently, tens of millions of workers, like independent contractors, temps, domestic workers, and immigrants, lack the right to organize and collectively bargain or aren’t protected by labor law if they try to form a union and an employer retaliates against them.
The report finds that when workers organize together in a union, they achieve higher wages and benefits. This was the case for Patricia Sinkler, a New Jersey child care provider and new AFSCME member featured in the report. In 2007, New Jersey passed a law allowing registered child care providers to form a union. Since then, the providers who organized have successfully negotiated for pay increases, sick days, and professional development classes. Thanks to a law enabling and protecting her right to have a voice on the job, Sinkler is advancing in her career and is more solidly on the path to the middle class.
Read more concrete proposals addressing the jobs crisis and the economic insecurity plaguing the country in the full report: “Ten Ways to Rebuild the Middle Class.”