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AFL-CIO Report Shows Black Women Voters Are The Key To Electing Hillary Clinton President

AFL-CIO data reveals Black women voters
are pivotal voting bloc in 2016 election

(Washington, DC,) – Yesterday on a press call held in honor of National Voter Registration Day, the AFL-CIO released new data revealing Black women voters as the key to electing Hillary Clinton president in November. The data reveals that Black women turn out to vote in higher numbers than other women and, just as they helped President Obama win in 2008 and 2012, can secure the presidency for Hillary Clinton.

Image from report, Black Girl Magic:The Power of Black Women in Elections

Image from report, Black Girl Magic:The Power of Black Women in Elections

“Black women cannot afford to sit this election out,” said Carmen Berkley, AFL-CIO Director of Civil, Human and Women’s Rights. “A loss for Secretary Clinton is a loss for the Black family, from the White House to the Supreme Court. We need to let our communities know what’s at stake if we let a divisive fear monger like Donald Trump make decisions that affect everything from our families to our jobs.”

The AFL-CIO plans to do large scale outreach to all women union members across the country this election cycle in the key states of Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.  Many of these states are where Black women made the difference in the last presidential election.

“Black women are born organizers,” said Petee Talley, Secretary-Treasurer of the Ohio AFL-CIO, the first Black woman to hold that position. “We know what our families and communities need to thrive and we vote for candidates who can deliver.”

“Black women do more than vote; they are active in their unions, acting as an engine of organizing and mobilization. A recent survey done by Lake Research Partners (LRP) illustrates that regardless of union affiliation, black people, regardless of gender, are very supportive of unions and collective bargaining,” the report states.

Image from report, Black Girl Magic:The Power of Black Women in Elections

Image from report, Black Girl Magic:The Power of Black Women in Elections

The new AFL-CIO data indicates that Black women participate in leadership in America’s unions at a greater percentage than their actual unionization rates. The benefit of this leadership is spread across Black communities, making these women a force and the foundation for political change.

The report continues, “Given the black community’s commitment to unions, it’s no surprise that black women take on leadership roles in their unions. While black women are 7% of all union members, 8% of them are stewards and local leaders.”  On top of taking leadership roles, black women are generally more active in their unions. Over 24% call themselves “very active” in their local unions.

Read the full report here.

New BLS Report Shows Union Members Earn Hundreds More Per Week

Today the Department of Labor released their annual report on union membership in the United States.  For the first time in many years the number of union members held steady at just over 11% of the U.S. workforce.

For many years labor unions have been saying that being a union member has a definite financial advantage, and this report proves it.

The data also show that among full-time wage and salary workers, union members have higher median weekly earnings than nonunion workers,” said Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez.  “The median weekly earnings of union members were $950, compared to $750 for nonunion workers.

Wages union vs non union

The average benefit for being a union member is $200 per week, or just over $10,000 per year.  That is a significant boost to a workers income.

The additional money in their paycheck is not the only benefit to being a union member, as Sec. Perez explains.

Along with higher wages, other data show that union members have greater access to employment-based benefits, such as health insurance, a retirement savings plan, and sick and vacation leave.

The Economic Policy Institute reports:

Unionized workers are more likely than their nonunionized counterparts to receive paid leave, are approximately 18% to 28% more likely to have employer-provided health insurance, and are 23% to 54% more likely to be in employer-provided pension plans.”

Not only are unionized workers more likely to have healthcare, typically they pay less for their coverage.

They (unionized workers) also pay 18% lower health care deductibles and a smaller share of the costs for family coverage.” (EPI Report)

Membership has its benefits.

Sec. Thomas Perez: “Workers’ ability to form unions and engage in collective bargaining has been a cornerstone of a strong middle class. The decline in union membership over the last few decades has contributed to more working families struggling to get by. When workers have a seat at the table, they are better able to bargain for their fair share of the value they helped create; and that leads to greater economic security and economic mobility for everyone.  As our economy continues to recover and we work to create good jobs, we need to ensure workers can lift their voices to raise wages, reduce inequality and help more people climb ladders of opportunity.”

Union membership states

From BLS report

See also Private-Sector Union Membership Grows in 2013 from the AFL-CIO

 

Private-Sector Union Membership Grows in 2013

Public-sector workers remain under attack; Unions grow in the South;
Total percentage of workforce unchanged

(Washington, D.C.) In 2013 the total number of workers in unions rose by 162,000 compared with 2012, led by an increase of 281,000 workers in private-sector unions. There were strong gains in construction and manufacturing, against a background of strike actions by low-wage workers in the private sector.  But destructive, politically motivated layoffs of public-sector workers continued to hurt overall public-sector union membership, leaving the total percentage of the workforce that is unionized virtually unchanged.

“Wall Street’s Great Recession cost millions of America’s workers their jobs and pushed already depressed wages down even further.  But in 2013, America’s workers pushed back,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said of the figures released Friday by the Department of Labor. “At the same time, these numbers show that as unorganized workers have taken up the fight for their right to a voice on the job, union employers are hiring—creating good jobs our economy desperately needs.”

Despite the overall gains of 2013, workers in the public sector continued to bear the brunt of the continuing economic crisis, weak labor laws and political assaults on their rights on the job.  In Wisconsin, political attacks on public-sector workers’ right to collectively bargain resulted in bargaining coverage falling. Broadly, federal, state and local governments continued to lay off needed public workers, leading to an overall loss of 118,000 union members.

“Make no mistake, the job of rebuilding workers’ bargaining power and raising wages for the 99% has a long way to go,” said Trumka. “Collective action among working people remains the strongest, best force for economic justice in America. We’re building a stronger, more innovative movement to give voice to the values that built this country. From Walmart workers to fast food workers to homecare workers, the rising up of workers’ voices against inequality – both inside and outside of traditional structures – is the story of 2013.”

Union Membership In Decline Due To Austerity Cuts, Not Members Leaving

Yesterday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released a new report that shows that union membership slipped slightly over the last year.  The report show that overall union membership went from 11.8% of the workforce to 11.3%.

I am sure that right-wing pundits are going to continue to say that this decline shows that people do not want union representation anymore.  I would beg to differ. The fact of the matter is America is adding jobs and growing our economy. The problem is that many of these jobs are not eligible for union representation, or are struggling to gain representation.

“Throughout most of the recession union membership in Oregon grew as more workers realized the importance of having a voice at work. But we knew that eventually the job losses would translate to lower membership numbers, and that appears to have caught up with us this year,” said
Oregon AFL-CIO President Tom Chamberlain.

Workers like those at Wal-Mart and American Airlines have been fighting for years to gain representation rights.  Think of what these numbers would be if we added the two million Wal-Mart employees to the list of union-represented workers.  OUR Walmart, which organized the national ‘Black Friday’ boycott/picket of Walmart is working to organize those workers and give them a voice on the job.

The problem with organizing is that even when workers overwhelmingly want and need union representation, the process makes it very difficult to get that representation.  This is the exact case with CWA and American Airlines service agents.  They have been working to hold a representation election for over a year.  During this wait, American Airlines has laid off hundreds of employees and replaced them with temporary (ineligible for representation) workers.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka stated:

“Working women and men urgently need a voice on the job today, but the sad truth is that it has become more difficult for them to have one, as today’s figures on union membership demonstrate. “

The second reason for this decline is the massive cuts in the public sector throughout the US.  Public employee unions represent more of their workforce than any other occupation.  Jobs cutsWhen the government sheds jobs, that results in a loss of union membership. The biggest hit, percentage wise, was at the local level.  This is teachers, firefighters, police officers, and municipal workers.  Last year alone, local governments cut nearly 100,000 jobs.

The Federal sector has also taken a beating.  As you can see from this chart, since 2010 alone the Federal Sector has dropped over 2% of its workforce.  Since 30% of the Federal workforce are members of a union, this means 1 in 3 federal job cuts is a union member no longer on the payroll.

One other area that has seen a significant drop in union membership is directly affected by the Government: the building trades.

Many states have greatly slowed their infrastructure investments over the last four to five years. These cuts have made it even harder on the already struggling building trades. Even with the Federal mandate to use project labor agreements (PLAs), if the states are not spending money, there are fewer union jobs.

It begs the question: how would union membership have been affected if Congress had acted on the American Jobs Act, instead of insisting on austerity cuts?

Many of the private-sector occupations have actually seen growth in union membership.  Combine that with the potential of over one million new jobs to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure, and I firmly believe that the number of union members would actually be on the rise for the first time in many years.

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