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Issue Position: Helping America's Workers

Issue Position

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Issue Position: Helping America's Workers

Every American deserves a good job with good pay, decent benefits, and a secure retirement. And every worker has a fundamental right to associate freely and join a union. For half a century, the ability to join a union has provided employees with a voice in the workplace, helping them attain the fairness and dignity they have earned. However, too many workers who want to join a union are denied this basic right. Many employers threaten, intimidate, or even fire workers to prevent them from joining, and then face little or no penalty for their actions. Union workers are more likely to receive higher wages, superior health care, and decent retirement - giving them the resources they need to provide and care for their families. Workers deserve - and have earned - the right to associate freely to ensure their pay and benefits match their hard work.

Worker safety remains a major concern in today's workplace, with thousands of people dieing from work-related injuries each year. Despite these staggering numbers, many companies do little to protect their employees, and many blatantly ignore current law with little or no penalty. The federal government must implement and enforce more effective safety and health measures that will protect employees from job-related injuries and fatalities. In addition, businesses that violate safety laws should be held accountable, especially if their negligence leads to worker deaths.

Workers are the backbone of our nation's economy. Unfortunately, their hard work is not always recognized in their paychecks. The minimum wage is at an all-time low, the Family and Medical Leave Act is under attack, and workers are being stripped of their overtime pay, unemployment insurance, and pensions. The United States must recommit itself to supporting working families to ensure a strong and prosperous America for future generations.

Key Facts

• Union workers earn 28 percent more than non-union workers. Union workers are 40 percent more likely to have health insurance, and four times more likely to have a pension.

• The number of Americans with employment-based health insurance has steadily declined since 2000, from 63.6 percent in 2000 to 59.8 percent in 2004.

• Since 2001, labor's productivity has grown 53 times faster than labor's wages, while corporate profits have increased by 70 percent in that same span of time.

• Each Year, more than 6,000 people die from job-related injuries in the United States, and millions more suffer occupational illness or injury.

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