Victory in West Virginia

From the AFL-CIO

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice signed legislation Tuesday giving all state employees a 5% pay raise, the direct result of a heroic teacher strike that lasted nearly two weeks and highlighted the plight of low pay and rising health care costs in the Mountain State.

The victory for teachers and public employees in West Virginia is a true testament to their activism and an important reminder of the power of working people to improve the lives of everyone.

Whether it is raising pay, providing quality health care or making our jobs safer, all workers know that when we join together and fight together, we will win together.

Nothing is more important to our future than the quality of our children’s education.

Teachers are the backbone of the education system and deserve the resources needed to inspire the next generation. A top-tier education, in West Virginia and across America, requires top-tier talent—and that requires an investment in our teachers.

That is why the AFL-CIO’s 12.5 million working men and women and the entire labor movement are proud to stand with the brave teachers in West Virginia.

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Posted In: Union Matters

Union Matters

Want A Stronger Economy? Try Collective Bargaining

By Bethany Swanson
USW Intern

Well established collective bargaining systems improve wages, working conditions, and economic equality. They also can protect the economy as a whole against downturns.

These were the findings of a study published last week by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), an intergovernmental agency founded after WWII, dedicated to improving economic and social conditions for workers across the globe.

Yet collective bargaining systems are facing serious challenges in many OECD countries, which make it unsurprising that the study also revealed that even with the unemployment rate decreasing, wage growth remains lower than it was before the recession in nearly every OECD country.

In the United States, which ranks at the bottom for both collective bargaining and worker security, workers are especially vulnerable.

The OECD found that countries like the United States that have decentralized collective bargaining systems generally have slower job growth and higher unemployment than other advanced nations. It also concluded that low paying jobs can create a slowdown in productivity and a sluggish economy.

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