Unions

Unions represent workers of all levels of education, and union workers are diverse, just like America. As of 2016, roughly 10.6 million of the 16.3 million workers covered by a union contract are women and/or people of color, and more than half (54.5 percent) of workers age 18 to 64 and covered by a union contract have an associate degree or more education.

The erosion of collective bargaining has undercut wages and benefits not only for union members, but for nonunion workers as well. This has been a major cause of middle-class income stagnation and rising inequality. Yet, millions of workers desire union representation but are not able to obtain it. Restoring workers’ ability to organize and bargain collectively for improved compensation and a voice on the job is a major public policy priority.

Publications

Fast Facts: “Right-to-Work” Won’t Boost West Virginia’s Economy

“Right-to-Work” laws do not guarantee jobs for workers. Instead they prohibit unions and employers from including a provision in contracts that requires employees who benefit from union representation to pay for their fair share toward those costs. PDF of Fast Facts.

Some state lawmakers argue that if West Virginia adopted a so-called “right-to-work” (RTW) law it would boost job growth, workforce participation and manufacturing in the state. But that theory is built on relationships that do not exist and a misunderstanding of the evidence. The most rigorous analysis shows RTW laws have no significant impact on state economic growth but do lead to lower wages, less benefits, and a decrease in unionization.

So-Called Right to Work and the next generation

Many of us who fight for workers’ rights and good jobs know that So-Called Right-to-Work (SCRTW) is wrong for workers.

SCRTW laws allow workers in unionized businesses to benefit from a union contract without paying union dues. It’s like allowing someone to belong to a health club without paying membership fees – of course, some will take advantage of the offer. The problem for the health club is that, with less membership fees, it’s harder to keep up the equipment or pay the trainer.

It’s the same with a union, which won’t be able to maintain the staff needed to negotiate a good contract or provide other services to members.

These laws are designed to weaken unions and they do. A rigorous study, published in 2011, found that SCRTW reduced wages and cut health care and pensions for union and non-union workers. The study also shows so-called right-to-work laws have no impact on economic growth.

Unions are explaining why SCRTW is wrong, but we should say more about what SCRTW would mean for young people, from first-graders to recent college graduates.

New Jersey Has Modest Public Pension Benefits

While one of the central tenets of repeated calls for major changes to New Jersey’s public pension system is the claim that public employee pensions are overly generous, retirement benefits for the state’s public workers are already among the least generous of all large public-sector pensions in the country, in part because of cuts enacted in the pension reforms of 2011. In fact, New Jersey ranks 95th in pension generosity among the country’s 100 largest plans.

Keeping the Score: The Impact of Recapturing North American Film and Television Sound Recording Work

Governments across the U.S. and around the world are investing billions of dollars in the film and television industry in an effort to create and retain the high-quality jobs attached to the industry. Yet musicians – the highly-trained and highly-talented women and men who record the scores for movies and television shows – are being left behind. This report shines a light on this oft-overlooked segment of the industry by examining the trends and forces contributing to a dramatic decline in domestic employment for recording musicians working at the industry standard.

This report concludes that by increasingly offshoring recording work, Hollywood studios and production companies are saving relatively small amounts of money. These savings, however, have disproportionate costs for musicians, taxpayers, and the broader economy. Hollywood can easily afford to meet the top employment standards for musicians, thereby not only providing ample quality employment, but strengthening domestic economies.