There can be little doubt that workers everywhere are struggling. This is a difficult time for labor, primarily because trade unions are under attack. We see it every day in the news, where court decisions and contracts put additional pressure on workers already buckling from the strain. But the future of unions is strong and more critical than ever.
There are many reasons to be hopeful for the future of labor as we stand united.
The future is not bleak
The New York Times published an editorial on July 9 proclaiming that the future is bleak for labor in New York. Mario Cleinto, president of the New York State AFL-CIO fired back his response listing why unions are, if anything, more critical than ever.
The reasons why unions are more important than ever were laid out in detail:
- Union members receive on average $11,000 more per year.
- They are more likely to have health care coverage and pensions.
- So-called “right to work states” have significantly higher poverty rates.
- Public approval of unions is growing, now at 61%.
These figures show that no matter what is claimed, the future for unions is anything but bleak. A better term is “critical,” and now more than ever.
Fighting income inequality
We all know that in the last decades the rich have only gotten richer, usually at the expense of working people. A new study shows that the best way to reduce income inequality is through collective bargaining.
Economists at Princeton and Columbia published the study which shows that not only are unions good for their members, they are good for all working people. They reason that fear of collective bargaining drives employers to treat workers better even when employees do not have their own representation.
This goes to show what we all know – that employers have the money to treat workers fairly, but far too often only do so when they are forced to. Unions make life better for all working people by letting employers know there is only so much they can get away with.
The law is on our side
New York is still a strong state for organized labor. Everyone knows that workers have to be treated fairly under our laws. Sometimes, employers push it, however, and that’s when representation at the bargaining table has to include lawyers with experience in labor law.
No matter what, the future of unions is bright. But most importantly, it is critical. It doesn’t always make the news, but when it does it’s important to highlight the truth. Workers are indeed stronger together.