President Obama used his State of the Union address to promote laws that would strengthen labor unions on Tuesday.
While the National Labor Relations Board continues to issue decisions that greatly benefit unions, opponents have pushed on the federal and local level to challenge union power.
“We still need laws that strengthen rather than weaken unions, and give American workers a voice,” the president declared.
The president also discussed the importance of policies many unions have been advocating for.
“Things like lower mortgage premiums and a higher minimum wage — these ideas will make a meaningful difference in the lives of millions of families,” the president noted. “That is a fact. And that’s what all of us — Republicans and Democrats alike — were sent here to do.”
Labor unions have been long time advocates for raising the minimum wage. In the last year, through nationwide protests and advocacy campaigns, unions and union backed groups have pushed for higher wages for fast food workers and Walmart employees.
“To everyone in this Congress who still refuses to raise the minimum wage, I say this: If you truly believe you could work full-time and support a family on less than $15,000 a year, go try it. If not, vote to give millions of the hardest-working people in America a raise,” the president proudly said.
They argue a higher minimum wage will ultimately benefit the lowest income earners, which will have a proudly positive impact on the economy.
Opponents argue that raising the minimum wage will hurt the lower-income workers. The National Bureau of Economic Research released a study which showed employment for low skilled workers fell when the minimum wage went up.
The study titled, “The Minimum Wage and the Great Recession,” found that the 40 percent federal minimum wage increases between 2007 and 2009 reduced employment and income growth for low skilled and younger workers, relative to those workers in states where the new wage increase had less of an effect.
Right-to-work advocates want laws that prevent mandatory union membership as a condition of employment. The policy has been passed in 24 states.
According to Gallup, union approval is at 53 percent while right-to-work policies are supported by 71 percent of the country.
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