Majority Think Unions Key to More Benefits on the Job
The majority of people agree that unions are the key to more benefits at work according to a new poll released today by the AFL-CIO, the Economic Policy Institute and GQRR. The poll shows some startling results that fewer workers are getting paid time off for holidays and vacations, resulting in less time with their families. The poll also shows strong support for labor unions and that people want the ability to join a union.
Over the last twenty years research has shown that Americans are working more and more every year. Productivity has gone up exponentially while wages have remained relatively flat. For some, workers are working longer because they are forced to work two or three jobs, others because their employers expect them to work from home on their weekends. 63% of a people reported that they are taking fewer vacations and have less time off than they ever did in the past.
As workers face longer and longer workdays spending time with their families is becoming harder as many do not have access to paid time off for holidays or vacations. The report shows that overall 23% of the workforce do not have paid holidays and 24% do not have paid vacations. Access to paid time off even harder in low wage jobs. “Among the bottom 10% of earners, 59% do not have access to paid holidays, while among the top 10% of earners, 7% do not have access to paid holidays.”
The report shows that if you want to have paid vacations, paid holidays, and overtime when you do work a holiday, it pays to be a union member.
The report showed: “While 78% of all working people polled have Labor Day off, 85% of union members do. Furthermore, 66% of union members receive overtime for working on Labor Day, compared with 38% of nonunion members. Seventy-nine percent (79%) of union members enjoy access to paid vacation, compared with 68% of nonunion members. Finally, 75% of union members have access to paid sick leave, compared with only 64% of nonunion members.”
The majority of American workers credit labor unions for many of the benefits they receive.
“Union workers empowered by the freedom to negotiate with employers do better on every single economic benchmark,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “Union workers earn substantially more money, union contracts help achieve equal pay and protection from discrimination, union workplaces are safer, and union workers have better access to health care and a pension.”
The report goes on to talk about how very few working people have access to paid family leave. This is paid time off to take your child to the doctor or stay home when they are ill. “Only a paltry 14% of private-sector workers have access to paid family leave through their employers.” the report stated.
This means that “37 million private-sector workers have no access to paid sick leave at all.”
Labor unions continue to push for more working people to have access to paid sick leave and family medical leave. “Recently, in New Jersey, New York and Washington, D.C., respectively, the AFL-CIO has played lead roles in the fights to expand access to paid sick leave and paid family and medical leave for all working people. Elsewhere, individual unions have been at the forefront of new and ongoing fights in Arizona, Maryland, Massachusetts, Oregon and Washington.”
These ongoing efforts have helped revitalize the labor movement. The report found that “72% of Americans think unions help people enter the middle class.” They also understand the direct connection between unions and paid holidays and paid time off.
That is probably why 54% said that they would join a union today, IF they had the opportunity.
“This Labor Day, the AFL-CIO will continue to push for an economy that supports work-life balance and ensures every worker has the freedom to spend time with loved ones. Whether it’s strengthening the right to form a union and negotiate for paid time off, expanding paid leave nationwide or rewarding employers that do the right thing, we are committed to advancing commonsense solutions that allow more Americans to enjoy full and happy lives.”
Click here for the transcript of Richard Trumka talking to the Christian Science Monitor about the new report, “Laboring on Labor Day.”
The full “Laboring on Labor Day” report is included below.17126_Report5-fin_1