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. Read more »
Fed up with the relentless attacks on workers from state legislators, Michiganders have launched a new campaign to protect collective bargaining rights. The Protect Our Jobs campaign has already begun collecting signatures to put a constitutional amendment on the November ballot that would ensure workers’ rights to form unions and bargain together for fair pay and better working conditions.
There’s no doubt that this initiative would be good for workers, but it’s also crucial for the state’s economic recovery. With the ability to bargain collectively, workers can regain their grasp on the middle class and pump much-needed consumer spending into the economy.
Earlier this month, Los Angeles workers got some long-awaited good news: The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Board of Directors unanimously approved a project labor agreement (PLA) for upcoming projects that will create an estimated 270,000 good, family-supporting jobs over the next 30 years. What’s even better? Forty percent of work hours will go to disadvantaged communities, and at least half of those hours will go to apprentices—meaning a career path for workers who might otherwise be stuck in dead-end, low-wage jobs. Read more »
The issue of whether childcare workers should be able to form unions has generated considerable debate in recent years. Those who support the rights of these workers to form unions and bargain collectively emphasize the low pay and difficult environments childcare providers often face. Unions help to stabilize conditions, improve job satisfaction, and raise wages to appropriate levels—all of which are vital to providing the best possible care for children.
Unfortunately, very little is known about the tangible differences unions make in the lives of childcare providers. But a new study from the Economic Opportunity Institute (EOI) helps to shed light on the value unions provide to an often-neglected and voiceless group of workers. Read more »
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 »
It’s a new year. And for many of us, that means new resolutions. People trudge to the gym, start doing the dishes right after dinner, or tackle their messy closets. But what about companies? Shouldn’t they be resolving to do a little self improvement too? In the case of Amazon.com, the answer is painfully clear. Read more »
In September, an investigative report revealed that Amazon.com’s Breinigsville, PA, warehouse has been operating like a sweatshop – with employees working on their hands and knees at a frantic pace, enduring the pain because they’re afraid of losing their jobs. Amazon had even forced employees to work in temperatures so high that the company kept ambulances parked outside to carry sick workers out on stretchers.
After thousands of outraged customers wrote to Amazon’s CEO demanding that the retailer set things right, Amazon is now planning to install air conditioners in its warehouses. Unfortunately, the company hasn’t bothered to address other problems that are just as serious. Read more »