Teamsters

North America's Strongest Union

Action Is Needed To Make Workers’ Dreams Come True

Port trucker drivers picketed at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach during a port strike last month.

Americans spend more hours at work than anyone else in the industrialized world. But increasingly they have less and less to show for it and are beginning to lose hope.

A New York Times survey found that only 64 percent of respondents believe the American Dream concept anymore, less than even during the Great Recession and lower than any poll taken by the newspaper that asked the question going back to 1996. And given the pro-corporate system in place, many don’t expect it to change.

Wealth isn’t based on how hard one works. In fact, it is more and more based on who your parents are and how much money they have. While the concept of hardworking Americans toiling their way toward riches might be a nice story, it is largely folklore at this point.

Low-income workers face significant challenges in making a better life for themselves, but miniscule wages are only a part of it. Their problems are exacerbated by not having enough time in their day, not having sick leave and not having the ability to plan for the future. It leads to unhealthy choices and unfortunate events that keep them in poverty.

With elected officials increasingly choosing not to be the answer for American workers, the people need to find their own solutions. And that’s where the Teamsters and other unions can play a role in lifting up regular workers. After all, union jobs pay better. That’s not bull – it’s fact.

The legal system seems to recognize what the other two branches of government don’t. Just this week, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas hinted that Amazon workers would benefit from joining a union so they could have their arguments heard by the online shopping giant. Meanwhile, a NLRB administrative law judge sided with Walmart workers at two northern California stores who said the company was trying to inhibit its organizing efforts.

More and more low-income workers are also taking control of their own destiny. They are out in the streets, letting the public know that they aren’t being paid enough and they aren’t being treated fairly.

Workers need to stick together and help each other whenever possible. Joining a union is the best way to restore faith that American lives can get better if they work hard. It is in everybody’s interest to make sure the American Dream is alive and well.