By Kelvin Lassister, Income Policy Analyst
With 4.3 million workers electing to leave the workforce in August 2021, employees have taken advantage of the shortage of workers to leverage better pay and benefits. Others have taken advantage of unsafe work conditions to go on strike. The bottom line: the need to form unions is increasing, and becoming more important.
Billion-dollar corporations like Amazon, and McDonald’s who can afford to pay a livable wage, refuse to listen to their workers. With a failed attempt to unionize their warehouse in Bessemer, AL, Amazon workers at the Staten Island, NY location filed a petition to unionize. Unsafe working conditions, better pay, and paid time off are the reasons for the actions taken against the world’s largest online retailer.
There are several other companies that low wage workers should consider forming a union as well: Dollar General, and Family Dollar. Both cite not enough staff, and low pay not equivalent to the long work hours. Companies pay potential hires low wages based on their urgency to find employment. People deserve decent wages that allow them to pay for basic living expenses for their families!
According the National Relations Labor Board, companies can select a union with several different methods: 30% of workers must sign a petition, or sign cards, and a majority that vote for a union, the National Relations Labor Board will certify the union as a representative for collective bargaining.
The American worker now has the chance to capitalize on an opportunity that may not come around again for quite some time. In the days, and times of wage increases for the wealthy, employees must get their fair share, and that begins with Unions and employment stability.
This week (November 15th-21st) is International Living Wage Week! Events are being held worldwide, and United for a Fair Economy is excited to partner with the National Living Wage Network and Living Wage for US to bring this to the United States.
Throughout living wage week, we want to encourage our community to join us in celebrating by lifting up living wages and taking action. We invite you to get involved in a few ways:
- Sign the pledge to support living wage businesses this week.
- Shout out your favorite living wage certified businesses on social media with the hashtag #livingwageweek2021
- See what a living wage is in your community with MIT’s Living Wage Calculator