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Guest Young Unionist Column By Cory McCray, President Of The Baltimore-Based Young Trade Unionists: A Young Worker’s Plight In A Struggling Economy

Published Tuesday, January 25, 2011 10:00 am
by Cory McCray/Young Trades Unionists Editor’s Note: Cory McCray, who serves as chairman of the Baltimore, Maryland Young Trade Unionists Group, has been reported on and profiled by several times in recent months. has also republished several worthy columns authored by McCray over that same period of time that targets Young Union Members & Workers.  This is the latest offering from Mr. McCray that wanted to bring to the attention of our viewers/readers:


As we continue to hear the unemployment rate for workers is less than 10%, have we really taken the time to understand what the future may hold for the Young Worker - whose unemployment rate has been stated to linger around 20%?

Among major demographic groups in the U.S., the jobless rates for young men (20.5%), young African-Americans (33.4%) and young Asian-Americans (21.6%) continue to rise from a year earlier.  The unemployment rates for young women (17.5%), young Caucasians (16.2%) and young Hispanics (22.1%) hardly changed the BLS reports.

To most this can be considered challenging or troubling and that is because it is.

The reality is that you’re competing in a workforce where people with 15 or 20 years of experience are fighting for the same job.

For example, there’s almost a 20% unemployment rate amongst construction industries across the states for Young Workers who want to join apprenticeship programs.

And what about those Young Workers who decided to go to college - only to be disappointed with the unrevealing possibilities in the job market?

For the Young Worker that’s found some type of employment in this bad job market, research shows they’re earning 17.5% less than their counterparts in a good economy.

Research also shows this can have an adverse impact on Young Workers for an amazing seventeen years of their life!

As we deal with underemployment and less benefits than our parents’ generation, we’re at a point in time where businesses are demonizing pensions to institute a new program that I call:  “Save your own retirement - 401K slaves.”

The point I’m trying to make is that it is heartbreaking to see my young friends and their families having to deal with this epidemic that is out of our control.

I’ve heard some parents and elders repeatedly say, “We are doing this for the future” or “We are laying down the ground work for the next generation.”

Well, unfortunately, the reality is our elders created this mess and it’s getting worse.

We’re going to have to be the ones that stand up, take responsibility and fix it.

First, we have to be diligent in purchasing Made in America products.

Remember - these are jobs that are held by our family and our friends.

It may even be our own jobs we might be saving.

This must happen when we spend our money to purchase a car, clothes, food - even cleaning products.

Second, we have to strive to receive the best education and training available in order to compete with the innovation and high level of skills that are coming out of other countries.

A high school diploma is no longer acceptable as it had been in past generations, which allowed anyone to make a good wage, have affordable benefits and gain a dependable retirement.

We have to obtain college degrees or apprenticeship training certificates to be competitive in this job market, never missing the opportunity to obtain a great education.

Finally, we have to stand up for conditions that our parents are giving up - such as a Living Wage, pensions, safety conditions and affordable Health Care.

I watched a movie last night that was called Wall Street/Money Never Sleeps.

In the beginning of the movie the star actor called my generation NINJA’s, better known as No Income, No Jobs, No Assets.

Young Workers - I challenge you not to fall into a trap and relax - like previous generations have - but to survive, learn and fight such as those who lived through the Great Depression.

We have the power to enact change and stimulate this great country we call America!


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