Why it matters for all of us
Every one of us is entitled to fair treatment on the job. Employers — whether they are big corporations or small shops, factories or hospitals, private or public, offices or fast food franchises — owe their employees a living wage, safe working conditions, respect and the right to be heard if there is a dispute.
Working America supports the right to take action to improve our lives on the job and in our communities — and to do that together as a group, rather than each person for him or herself. That’s what unions are really all about and why they are still so important.
Our workplaces should be safe and free of health hazards, discrimination and retaliation. We all deserve equal opportunity and equal pay for the same work, regardless of age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, immigrant status, gender expression or a disability. Together, we can build a strong voice about the conditions under which we work.
What we’ve done and where we’re headed
We fight for workplace rights and fair employment policies in many ways. In the past year, we helped win stronger rules on overtime pay and deliver paid family leave and sick leave in a large number of cities and states. With Working America in the lead, city workers in Greensboro, North Carolina, just won up to six weeks of paid parental leave for the birth or adoption of a child. That’s on top of last year’s victory, which raised the wages of the lowest-paid city workers. Next year, we will undertake a campaign for paid sick days.
This is just one example of Working America members uniting to make a real difference in people’s lives. We’ve fought to raise the minimum wage in cities and states across the country, including Alaska, Arkansas, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon and Washington state, and racked up a score of wins. We won new rules against wage theft (when employers don’t pay employees what is owed for the time they’ve worked) in Houston, and we’re now taking on that fight in Chicago and in Portland, Oregon.
But the laws in many states make it hard for working people to join together, form unions or maintain union representation. The most common attack is in the form of “right-to-work” laws, which have been proven to lower wages. We recently turned back RTW attacks in Missouri and New Mexico. We don’t succeed in every case, but each effort reminds elected officials that we will hold them accountable for their actions and educates the community about the issue.
Working America supports the right to join a union to negotiate for better wages and working conditions. This is important for all working people, but especially for women, who are still largely in jobs and industries without unions.
We should not have to be alone in the fight for fairness.