Labor had little to celebrate this Labor Day, according to a University of Illinois professor. Of wealthy industrialized nations, the United States has the worst laws for workers in the area of minimum wage, health care, maternity and paternity leave and union organizing, says Steven Ashby of the School of Labor and Employment Relations at the U. of I.
“We like to say We’re No. 1, we’ve got the World Series, we’re supposed to be the best at everything, and we have a lot to be proud of, but we’re Number Last when it comes to how we treat our workers. It’s really shameful and shocking,” he said.
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Ashby notes that worker productivity and pay in the U.S. ran parallel from the end of World War 2 to the start of the 1980s, but since then, productivity has continued to climb, while pay for regular workers has stayed the same.
He says workers have found that organizing unions via a National Labor Relations Board election is difficult, so they are turning to different tactics. Fast food workers engaged in one-day strikes last week to demand $15 an hour wages.