Sometimes statistics don’t tell the whole story. That’s certainly the case with today’s economy.
So-called experts point to increased jobs and decreased unemployment as if it means that hardworking Americans should be instantly OK. But they shouldn’t be fooled by those numbers, and neither should the working public.
Increasingly workers aren’t making enough to get by. While the rich have gotten immensely richer over the past few decades, pay at most middle-class jobs has remained stagnant. In some cases, such workers are finding themselves on the chopping block, like what happened at General Motors earlier this month when the mega-profitable company decided to “restructure” and ended up cutting some 14,000 jobs.
Additionally, federal workers and contractors were devastated by a partial government shutdown that left them without paychecks for 35 days. That’s more than 800,000 people who had to struggle to feed their families, pay their bills and keep a roof over their heads. While federal workers will get that money back, tens of thousands of low-wage service contract workers will be left to pick of the pieces of their tattered wallets on their own. Most likely, they will never get that money back.
Here are the facts: 22.5 percent of workers are in a low-wage job that doesn’t pay above the poverty threshold for a family of four; and 40 percent of American households lack a basic level of savings that would allow them to subsist at a poverty level for three months if they lost their income. That means there are tens of millions of workers who are struggling to make ends meet. That is a bright, flashing sign that the nation’s current path isn’t working.
It’s time for elected leaders to stop telling lies that things are going in the right direction for families. Because when push comes to shove, it is clear they’re not. The wealthy continue to glean their monetary gains off the backs of the working class, padding their pockets while the people who play by the rules continue to fall behind.
That’s where unions come in. The median union worker makes almost $10,000 more a year than the median non-union worker. Plus, they are more likely to receive benefits and have a retirement plan. Unions like the Teamsters bargain hard to provide fair pay for everyone, no matter their gender, race or ethnic background. That cannot be understated at a time when equality is not being happening in most workplaces.
Workers must join together and demand a better deal from their employers and from lawmakers. Don’t be fooled by the top-line numbers – hardworking Americans deserve more.