A Message from Jim Hoffa, Teamsters General President
Corporations are squeezing workers across the globe to maximize profits and minimize wages. But workers are standing up and fighting back.
Whether it’s fast-food workers walking off the job as part of one-day strikes held across the U.S. or mass protests across Europe, one thing is clear – workers are no longer keeping quiet while being abused by big business.
Why is this happening? Because good-paying jobs that were plentiful just a few years ago have not been replaced after the last recession. Instead, adults trying to support their families are seeking out restaurant and retail jobs that pay poorly. Once they are there, wages largely remain stagnant and work hours are unreliable.
More than 36 percent of fast-food workers over 20 are raising children. But 79 percent of those in the same age group make less than $10.10 an hour. Meanwhile, a recent report by the National Employment Law Project notes the largest losses in real wages in the last three years have occurred in the low- and middle-income job categories. And the number of involuntary part-time workers has almost doubled in the past five years.
At the same time, corporate profits are hitting an all-time high. Sales are peaking even as fewer Americans are working now than in the last 30 years. We have globalization to thank for those numbers. Companies are profiting by sending more jobs overseas and leaving working men and women with few options to support their families.
More and more states are increasingly falling under the influence of the American Legislative Exchange Council. ALEC, which acts as a go-between for corporations and state lawmakers, is doing everything in its power to strip workers of their rights while lessening rules for big business.
But workers are fighting back. We are in the midst of a global revolt against poverty. You can draw a straight line from the Wisconsin uprising of 2011 to today’s actions. More recently, we have seen this nation’s lowest-paid workers stand up to fast-food and retail giants who pay them the minimum wage often in unsafe work environments while raking in huge profits. We need to get the economy moving again to rebuild the middle class. Workers’ backs are against the wall. Business is booming for big corporations. Companies must do their part by paying a living wage and treating workers fairly.