How many times have you heard that there are no ‘good jobs’ out there? I hear it almost every day. People talk about how they can only find low-paying jobs that will barely keep their family fed. This national trend is one of the biggest depressors of our national economy.
For the basis of this discussion, let’s start by defining a ‘good job’. A ‘good job’
- pays a “living wage” of at least $19 per hour
- includes employer provided health insurance
- includes some type of retirement (traditional pension or 401k)
When was the last time you saw a job offer with all of those features? Jobs like this are getting harder and harder to find. The Center For Economic and Policy Research has released a new report that talks specifically about the loss of good jobs.
Since 1979 the number of good jobs in the United States has fallen 27.4%. Wonder where they went? Yes you guessed it, overseas. All those good manufacturing jobs that helped to rebuild America after WWII, gone. It was policy changes that led to the vulture capitalist stealing our good jobs and selling them to countries with the lowest bid, all in the name of profits. Now we need to make policy changes that will bring these good jobs back, and we can.
There are a few ‘tricks’ we can use to turn a bad job into a better job. Remember the three things required for a good job? Pay, retirement and healthcare. The United States has already begun the process to create a universal healthcare plan. Call it what you want, Obamacare, Affordable Care Act – either way it will lead to millions more Americans getting access to healthcare options they have never had before. With healthcare, people will live healthier, better lives because they will get preventative care. And that will save hundreds of billions of dollars the government spends each year on uninsured people who – in desperation – end up coming to the emergency room for medical care.
Retirement is a little more tricky; or is it? We already have a system for that too. It may not be the best system, however it has worked for millions for more than a quarter-century. Social Security is another way workers can invest in their future to retire with dignity. Yet now our Congressional Representatives are threatening that very program. We want people to have better lives: stop cutting Social Security! Ensure that people can actually live out their golden years on the money they have invested in the government. If there is not enough money in the program, raise the cap and bring in a little more from the people who have plenty to spare.
There are two tricks to turn a relatively bad job into a better job by these standards. To get a ‘good’ job, workers would still need to make $19 per hour – and that means less money for corporate executives and less profit paid out as dividends.
Don’t want to settle for just a ‘better’ job relying on Social Security and government healthcare? You want a truly GOOD JOB? I can tell you where to get one, but first you are going to have to sign this card. That’s right folks, the Union is the ticket that gets you to the promised land of good jobs.
We all know that union workers make more on average than non-union workers. Unions are also more likely to have employer-provided healthcare and retirement options than non-union workers. So if you want a good job, join the union.
The CEPR report confirms what I have been saying on this blog for years now. The CEPR report even goes as far as say that union organizing has had more influence than sending all our kids to college.
“Increasing unionization appears to be substantially more effective than a comparable expansion of college attainment. Given that increasing college attainment is a long and expensive process, these findings suggest the importance of emphasizing unionization as much or more than college attainment as a key path to improving job quality.”
Unions help train workers to get good jobs. Some states are begging for skilled trade workers. We need to organize. We need to remove the stigma that working with your hands for a living is a bad thing. All workers deserve the opportunity to get a good job. We need to continue to rebuild our ranks and pull the floor up!