As soon as Labor Day approaches, Americans all over the country plan to head to the beach, barbecue together with their families, and spend some cash at the local shopping mall. Nevertheless, it is really essential to devote some time and consider what this holiday is all about. As a matter of fact, we should think about the benefits that the labor movement has brought to the USA. In addition, try to remember that the American worker has been quite strong as well as resilient.
A lot of fundamental working rights that are now taken for granted were given by the modern labor movement. Due to courage, relentlessness of our unions, these days a worker enjoys the work week that consists of 40 hours, minimum wage, worker compensation, pay for overtime work, sick leave, laws regarding child labor, and this is not the full list of rights. Apart from that, unions were the ones who founded our middle class, helped to create such workforce that made the US the most economically developed country in the world.
Since union memberships decreased, the amount of income that went to families from middle class has shrunk, too. And this is not simply coincidence. For a long time, unions have been making an attempt to reduce economic and social inequality. However, efforts that were made for the weakening of the labor movement on the state, federal level haven’t allowed making any progress.
During 1948-1973 the union representation was quite high. Thus, those workers who endeavored more and did their best were appropriately compensated in accordance with their efforts. As a result, this period was characterized by the growth of productivity by nearly 97%, hourly compensation that concerned a non-supervisory manufacturing worker increased by 91%. Nevertheless, from 1970s’, the erosion of collective bargaining led to such situation in economy when wages lagged behind the productivity. 1973-2013 was the period of the increase in productivity to 74%. Actually, wages had a rise only to 9%.
Instead of concentrating on attacking unions as well as the labor movement, we should find a few ways that can strengthen, empower all workers to help middle class families get more money.
Strengthening and empowering workers means the ability to promote more unionization, the collective bargaining use. Despite the fact that lots of states have persevered in doing through right-to-work laws, we shouldn’t do less.
It’s also significant to pay workers a fair wage so that they can get by. Firstly, the minimum wage should be increased, that has remained for the last six years at $7.25, even though prices have risen by 11% over the same period.
All in all, while celebrating Labor Day you can just relax, enjoy this holiday with your kids or parents. Also bear in mind why this day is observed and take your time to think how workers can get empowered throughout our country.