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Labor Perspective From SEIU National President Mary Kay Henry: “We Need Unions For All. It's A Bold Agenda For Helping Everyone Get Ahead In Our Economy.”

Published Sunday, September 1, 2019
by SEIU National President Mary Kay Henry/Via USA Today
Labor Perspective From SEIU National President Mary Kay Henry: “We Need Unions For All.  It's A Bold Agenda For Helping Everyone Get Ahead In Our Economy.”

We need serious plans to empower all Workers to form Unions, no matter what job they do.

Unions for All is our litmus test for the 2020 Presidential Candidates.

America’s Labor Laws were established 84 years ago on the basis of a racist compromise and these laws, which were incomplete when they were written, are now completely useless to millions of Workers - Black, Brown and White - who are demandingUnion on the job.

The landmark 1935 National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), which among other things was meant to "encourage Collective Bargaining," was written for a different economy when manufacturing was the biggest industry.  And to satisfy the demands of White Supremacists in Congress, it excluded agricultural, domestic and various other Service Workers from the very start, as they were industries dominated by Women and People of Color. 

In today's economy, millions of other Americans - including Gig or App-Based Workers, so-called Independent Contractors and some public Sector Employees - are denied Union Rights under Federal Law.

Today, according to our research at the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), a staggering share of all Workers in the country - up to 45% - are legally excluded from the right to bargain collectively. 

It’s time to update our laws to fit an economy where most people work in service jobs

That’s why Members of our Union - two million people who are Janitors, Health Care Workers and Public Service Workers - are calling on all candidates for President to put forward serious plans to empower all Workers to form Unions, no matter what kind of job they do.

We are looking for more than lip service from political candidates and elected leaders about how much they support the broken laws we already have.

Instead, we need big ideas about how to empower more people to join together in Unions so everyone, no matter where they live or work, can negotiate for things like better pay, more affordable health care and more family-friendly schedules

Demand for joining a Union is at a four-decade high.

Nearly half of all Non-Union Workers in the United States now say they would join a Union if they could, according to a recent survey by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

And a solid majority of all Americans today say they support Unions.

Workers across the country are demanding Unions and fair contracts in a way I’ve never seen in my 40-year career in the Labor Movement.

They include: Public School Teachers from West Virginia, Oklahoma and Los Angeles; Amazon Workers; Stop & Shop Workers; Child Care Workers; and Cooks and Cashiers at McDonald’s and other companies across the $200 billion fast-food industry.

That’s why our endorsement in the 2020 election will be conditioned on support for Unions for All, a bold agenda to give Working People more power in our society. 

Our demand for Unions for All is focused on four big changes.

To Continue Reading This Labor Perspective, Go To:   www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2019/08/30/2020-democrats-must-endorse-seiu-unions-for-all-mary-kay-henry-column/2122608001/

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