Monthly Archives: July 2009

Research Shows Union Jobs Are Safer

Here in Alaska and elsewhere union agreements often have sections in them that extend or at least reinforce job safety and health protections for workers.  In addition, these agreements frequently outline structured ways that labor and management can address potential safety and health issues so that they are mitigated before they kill or injure a worker.  Consequently, it is logical to assume that, all other factors being equal, a union workplace is likely to be safer than a nonunion work setting, but is there any hard evidence of this.  It turns out that there is.  Read the rest of this entry

The Have and Have Nots

How American Labor Law Denies a Quarter of the Workforce Collective Bargaining Rights

The right to organize and bargain collectively under the protection of law is the bedrock upon which workers are able to form or join a labor union. American labor law has not kept pace with the changing nature and face of the modern workplace and increasingly excludes more and more workers from this legal protection. Increasing numbers of employees have a supervisory aspect or capacity of their work. More and more immigrants join the workforce, especially in the agricultural sector, and more people have been classified as independent contractors, whether by choice or by an employer’s decision. As these changes take place, American labor law denies these workers their legally-protected right to form unions and collectively bargain by either defining workers as not employees or by expressly excluding them. Read the rest of this entry

Advancing the Middle Class

Over the last thirty years, working members of Alaska’s and the nation’s families have worked longer hours, harder, and smarter. The result has been a huge increase in productivity. According to government statistics, from 1980 to 2008, nationwide worker productivity grew by 75%. This is impressive, but American workers never saw most of it in their wallets. Inflation-adjusted average wages increased by only 23%. Workers were compensated for less than a third of their productivity gains.

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110 Alaskans Lose Health Insurance Every Week

110 Alaskans Are Losing Their Health Coverage Every Week, as the Steady Rise of Health Care Costs Drives More and More Working Families out of the Market

These Alaskans are part of a national trend that will cost an average of 2.3 Million Americans their Health Coverage each year between 2008 and 2010.

Rising like a deadly tide, escalating health care costs will have caused 17,360 Alaskans to lose their health coverage between January 2008 and December 2010. In that same period, the number of Americans without health coverage is expected to climb by an estimated 6.9 million.

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