Labor leader explains why workers are quitting in record numbers or not returning to jobs
With a record 4.3 million Americans quitting their jobs in August recent supply chain issues may continue to remain a problem.
So when will the help signs go down and more Americans get back to work?
We reached out to a labor leader to find out why the problem exists and ask him about potential solutions to get our country's economy growing again.
A union leader with the Mahoning-Trumbull County AFL-CIO joined Lindsey McCoy on WFMJ Today.
He says the pandemic was a catalyst for MILLIONS of workers leaving the workforce.
"What workers are really upset about is the sort of on going erosion of benefits, wages, and working conditions over the last 20 to 30 years," said Jose Arroyo, Vice President of Trumbull Political Affairs at Mahoning-Trumbull AFL-CIO.
He tells us a worker shortage has more workers in the drivers seat for the first time in decades. Arroyo explained over the past two decades they have seen union membership decline, but tells WFMJ News that is changing now.
"Your seeing workers go back to a very old method and that's to withhold their labor," said Arroyo.
As concerns over health and safety grew some employers added pandemic pay showing that companies could do better things for employees but then took that extra pay away which led to discontent.
August saw a record of 4.3 MILLION workers quit nationwide.
Some economists and the Chamber of Commerce blame the extra weekly pandemic federal unemployment benefits as contributing to a lack of returning to the workforce. The increase in federal unemployment benefits began at $600 a week when major lock downs were in place, then afterwards the unemployment was reduced to $300 a week extra. The federal unemployment benefits were given in addition to state unemployment benefits.
Some parents say they have child care issues, so they can't work.
Other workers say they would like to work full time again, but they can only work part time because they lose medicaid health care benefits if they work more than 20 hours. But they tell us the extra money they make is not enough for them to buy their children and themself private medical insurance. They say the welfare system should be changed to benefit the working poor.
Locally 50 employees at Steris Cycle a medical waste disposal company are on strike, joining 100 thousand workers or more across the country already striking or preparing to strike.
This labor leader emphasizes a strike is a last resort.
Arroyo said, "This is the only way we can move the company or move our benefits, and wages, and retirements where we need them to catch up.
He says companies that have increased wages, working conditions, benefits, and retirements are faring better than others in todays workforce.
Arroyo said, "The best way to end supply chain issues is to bring manufacturing, and good paying jobs back to this country."
He says when workers are paid good wages, when they have good working conditions, along with benefits, and retirements they will come back to the workforce.