January, 2009


Washington DC—“Today’s formation of the White House Task Force on the Middle Class is a critical step in revitalizing the engine of the American economy. This task force is about ensuring that the issues facing working families are at the top of our nation’s agenda.

“President Obama has made it clear that he truly understands the challenges working families face, that we have to level the economic playing field, and that he is committed to using all of the levers of government to restore and expand our nation’s middle class.

“Working Americans have suffered for far too long under policies that neglected the men and women who are the drivers of economic growth and stability. This Task Force provides workers a welcome place at the table to address the kitchen table issues that millions of families must confront.

“The UFCW, and the millions of families that make up the American middle class, look forward to working closely with the task force to develop and implement policies that can, and will, get America’s economic engine back on track.””




>During Economic Crisis, A Union Helps You Keep Your Job

>The Washington Post reports that for the first time in the 25 years it’s been measured, union membership has shown a statistically significant increase. They report that in 2008:

union members represented 12.4 percent of employed workers, up from 12.1 percent a year earlier, according to a report from Bureau of Labor Statistics issued this morning. Until last year, union membership had generally been in a slow and steady decline since the 1950s.

The Post reports several different possible causes—and here’s a particularly revealing one:

“Part of what I think is happening is that the economy is shrinking but union jobs are not being shed because they have union contracts,” said Jim Walker, an economist with the Bureau of Labor Statistics who worked on the new figures.

And doesn’t that say it all? In tough economic times, in times of job uncertainty—-if you have union, you have job protection.

There are lots of reasons that more and more workers are choosing to join unions, including good benefits, better wages, and a say in the workplace-—but I can’t think of a better one during an economic crisis than job security.