Labor's Christmas Wish List
Labor unions have good reason to ask for a few favors from the new Democratic controlled Congress and Senate, as they were vital to the victories the Democrats gained in November. While nonunion voters including many poorly paid minimum wage workers only supported Democrats by a bare two point margin, union voters supported Democrats by a remarkable 74% for Congress and 76% percent for the Senate. With about 25% of households representing at least one union member, these votes in heavy favor of the Democrats were the vital key to the big gains by the Democrats.
Despite 40 years of Democratic leadership in Congress before the 12 year rule of Republicans masterminded by Newt Gingrich in 1994, Democrats in congress were soft on many issues involving working people and unions. This time around, they would be far wiser to pay attention. Many in Congress owe a huge debt to the union voters this time around.
Labor's goals appear modest, but would involve huge personal gains for working people in general. Improvements in health care or insurance, retirement security, an increase in the minimum wage, the right of workers to organize into unions, increased workplace safety, good well funded public education for children, creating good jobs with good wages are all goals that would leave American society much stronger. This is one Christmas wish list that the new Congress should pay special attention to. America would be better for it.