With the president’s State of the Union address right around the corner, union members are already discussing what they want to hear.
In a video by the AFL-CIO, workers discussed Social Security, trade, collective barging, immigration and raising the minimum wage.
“President Obama, I would like you to talk about trade,” said Victoria Fisher, a Communications Worker of America member. “I want to talk about how the Transpacific Partnership will be taking away hundreds of thousands of jobs from young workers across America.”
“I would like to be assured that Fast-Track will not be the means by which any trade agreement is reached,” notes Marcos Velez, a member of the United Steelworkers Union.
“Everyone has the right to collective bargaining,” AFSCME member, Lisa James-Henson, said. “Wages, Mr. President– that is a big subject in my home.”
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka adds, “Working people want to hear not only what he thinks about raising wages, but what he’ll do about it. That is the ultimate standard of accountability.”
Others, however, are skeptical that these ideas are going to truly be beneficial to workers.
“The moral bankruptcy of the union movement is on display once again” Rick Berman, executive director of the Center for Union Facts, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
“While most private sector employees enjoy the right to collective bargaining they are denied the right to control their dues money being used for purposes other than collective bargaining” Berman continued. “The Employee Rights Act would address this abuse and is strongly supported by union members while opposed by their leadership.”
Berman also discussed wages and how raising the minimum wage may have consequences for many workers.
“On wages, we still have record high unemployment of youth, minorities, and low-skilled Americans,” Berman noted. “The last thing they need is a mandated higher wage that ends up discriminating against these very people who are having difficulty being hired at today’s minimum wage.”
“There are millions of job openings in America that are presently going unfilled. Unions would better serve this country if they were part of the solution in getting our kids a better education rather than restricting their rights on the job or opportunities to get hired,” Berman concluded.
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