One thing is for certain, our economy is changing. And unfortunately, those changes are bringing more hardship to working people. But as California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski writes in a new op-ed for CalMatters, it doesn’t have to be this way. We can provide a future in which working people thrive instead of struggling to survive.
Unions are the key to unlocking the future workers so desperately need.
In these uncertain times, more and more people are recognizing that labor unions aren’t a thing of the past. In fact, we have a critical role to play in the future.
Unions are more popular now than they’ve been in decades. Nearly half of nonunion workers would join a union today if given the chance, according to a 2018 study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Institute for Work and Employment Research. Seven in 10 millennials view unions positively, according to Pew Research.
We are seeing workers in emerging industries such as digital media embrace unions and we’ve seen an organizing resurgence–from teachers to janitors and hotel housekeepers—in more traditional industries.
Why? In the midst of a decade-long economic expansion, workers are not sharing equally in the prosperity. For too long now, we’ve been getting the raw end of the stick. The system is rigged to the advantage of the wealthy few and corporate interests at the expense of everyday working people.
But to create that future, lawmakers must modernize labor law so that workers who want a union are able to join one. And unions must continue to lead the charge to pass laws like California’s AB 5, which will give working people some power to shape their own lives, and fight against sexual and racial discrimination, the mistreatment of immigrant families and stand up to Trump and the massive corporations trying to control our lives.
Working people should not be a footnote in an economy whose levers are too often pulled by corporate greed and new technologies. As we celebrate Labor Day this year, our movement is championing equal pay for women and people of color. We are working to put an end to racial discrimination in the workplace and banning forced arbitration agreements that cheat workers out of essential rights. We are fighting for job opportunities with good wages that put young people on a more promising path.
The future of work is not a problem we can afford to put off until tomorrow. The future of work is now.