January 28, 2015
By AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka
Washington, DC - The recent release of the annual union membership numbers by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that in this economic recovery, people are either seeking out good union jobs or taking matters into their own hands by forming unions to raise wages and ensure that new jobs are good jobs.
In 2014, workers made great strides and confronted great challenges, including major organizing wins at American Airlines, multiple state legislative victories on the minimum wage and innovative campaigns conducted by carwash workers, among others. We recognize, however, that right-wing billionaires’ extremist politics, a rapacious Wall Street and insufficient advocacy from political leaders thwarted further progress.
In the State of the Union, President Obama celebrated the fact that our economy has benefitted from 58 consecutive months of job growth and reiterated the need for laws that strengthen unions and give workers a voice. But the most important question is not simply how many jobs we’re creating, but are we creating jobs that raise wages for all? A strong recovery must be built on family-sustaining, not poverty-level jobs. This news confirms what most of us already knew: workers are finding good union jobs despite political ideologues -- and jobs are coming back as the economy slowly rebounds, but neither are nearly enough.
Noteworthy in 2014:
More than 92,000 workers chose to join AFSCME, including 20,000 home health care workers who were recently the target of Harris v Quinn.
14,500 customer service agents who work for American Airlines voted for union representation with CWA after the merger with US Airways.
Workers at an Alabama Copper parts plant voted to organize as members of the United Steelworkers.
Mechanics, technicians, and maintenance personnel at the Red River Army Depot near Texarkana Texas successfully organized into the IAM.
Nurses and hospital workers voted to be represented by AFT at two hospitals in Connecticut.