January 28, 2016
By Stephanie West
Washington, DC – A nine-page AFL-CIO report titled "Raise The Wage" notes that 2015 had been a record year of contract bargaining. The average worker won a 4.2 percent annual raise.
According to the document some of the lowest-paid workers got double-digit percentage raises. Two-tier wage systems have been cut back and in many cases eliminated. UAW won a 45 percent raise over the life of its FiatChrysler contract for lower-paid workers.
The AFL-CIO report notes that workers are educating themselves about Common Sense Economics and non-traditional strategies aimed at increasing wages. A growing number of people across the country were unwilling to accept stagnant and falling wages and demonstrations and other actions by workers were seen around the country.
Organizing wins included taxi and Uber drivers, AFT's gaining adjunct professors at Temple University, National Nurses United creating new locals, and the Communications' Workers win among 5,000 airline passenger service agents at Envoy.
The unrest and actions of workers encouraged President Obama to enact pro-worker executive orders. The Labor Department expanded regulations regarding overtime for all and minimum wages for federal contractor employees and home health care workers. State and local legislation across the country raised the minimum wage and provided paid sick leave in many localities. Strikes by teachers in Chicago and Washington state as well as fast food worker protests were successful.
The report concluded that "Anti-union and extremist forces have mobilized to fight on all the fronts. But we're different, too. We'll keep our eyes on the prize: A more just and inclusive economy that serves all of us, not just the wealthy and well-connected."