Last week, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its annual report on union membership rates in the United States. In stark contrast to the decline in union membership we’ve seen in recent years, union membership levels held relatively steady at 11.8 percent in 2011.
Though cash-strapped state and local governments cut jobs, the percentage of public sector workers in unions increased from 36.2 percent to 37.0 percent. Job loss in the public sector was offset by gains in the private sector, where union membership stayed at 6.9 percent with an increase of 110,000 union members. The construction industry, which experienced one of the greatest drops in unionization in 2010, saw 73,000 union members added in 2011—the largest net gain for any industry. Read more »
This August the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a rule that requires private sector employers to post a notice advising employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)—rights they’ve had for more than 70 years. Like other notices of workplace laws regarding safety and health, compensation, and discrimination, the poster raises awareness without unduly burdening employers.
But anti-worker politicians and corporate interest groups are up in arms over this modest step forward for everyday Americans. So we put together this short video on the poster to expose the right-wing hysteria for what it really is: political theater intended to undermine even the most basic protections for the 99 percent. Read more »
The New York Times reported over the weekend that Walmart plans to change its compensation strategy. Assuming the company read our report on turning its associates’ low-paying jobs into hourly careers, my first thought was, “This is great”! But my hopes were dashed by the second paragraph, where readers learned that Walmart was only adjusting its executive pay system.
And they’re not scaling back—not by a long shot. Read more »
Guest Post by author and MacArthur Foundation Chair in History at UC Santa Barbara, Nelson Lichtenstein.
As our consumer-driven economy struggles to regain lost ground, Walmart—the big-box retailer notorious for driving down wages and labor standards wherever it goes—is moving forward with plans to open stores in urban centers nationwide. What could the company’s expanded presence mean for workers and our communities?
Currently, Walmart uses its position in the economy to push low-road work that offers its associates no hope of a career. With such low pay and meager benefits, many Walmart employees who enjoy their job simply can’t afford to stay at the company. Career advancement is limited because only a few managerial positions exist at each store. Read more »
As the economy struggles to rebound and local, state, and federal legislators seek to address cash-strapped budgets, the buzzword has been “shared sacrifice.” But the AFL-CIO’s annual Executive Pay Watch report shows that CEOs of major companies, unlike their employees, haven’t made too many sacrifices. In fact, CEOs from S&P 500 companies received, on average, $11.4 million in total compensation in 2010— a 23 percent increase from the previous year!
Shared sacrifice? Not so much. We sure don’t know any workers who got 23 percent raises last year. Read more »
While no one likes paying taxes, most of us know it’s our tax dollars that support the schools, roads, and services we all use and depend on. But looking at a few statistics this tax day reveals the responsibility for keeping our public programs and economy on track isn’t shared equally — and the burden has fallen on those who can least afford it.
The recent string of attacks on middle class workers has made it easier than ever to point the finger at the politicians spearheading anti-worker legislation across the country— legislators like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
At the start of this year, we let you know that a lockout of NFL players would hurt more than just the athletes. We underscored that it would also threaten the jobs and livelihoods of countless workers and business owners who rely on the industry to support their families. Read more »