According to a recent Gallup poll, 68 percent of Americans now approve of labor unions. It is the highest approval rating organized labor has enjoyed since 1965.
Tim Burga, President of the Ohio AFL-CIO, joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss the increasing popularity of unions and the leadership direction of the AFL-CIO after the passing of Rich Trumka.
Burga also discussed the redistricting of Ohio’s congressional map following the census and how the process continues to be threatened by gerrymandering.
Union popularity showcases the urgent need for the PRO Act
Burga is thrilled unions are enjoying their best polling numbers since 1965. Due to the pandemic, workers are in a transformative period, he said. They are taking stock of their lives and their jobs. People want to work, but are tired of low compensation and poor benefits. They recognize the strength that can be found in unions and the power of working collectively for better wages, safer work environments and stronger benefits.
The laws need to catch up to where people stand, Burga said. The passage of the Richard Trumka PRO Act is urgent. It would honor the recently passed AFL-CIO President by delivering on the work Trumka did to transform labor in America.
The AFL-CIO is in good hands with newly appointed President Liz Shuler. As the former AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer, she understands the administrative and fiduciary responsibilities of the Union, he said. She also understands the policy ramifications of what is happening in America and will fight for the rights of working families.
Ohio has the opportunity to address gerrymandering in the redistricting process
Burga also discussed the process of redistricting in Ohio following the census. Constitutional amendments have been passed to prohibit gerrymandering and change the way congressional districts are drawn. These amendments received overwhelming support in all 88 counties — it is critical they are followed and enforced, he added.
The last 10 years have been a disaster for Ohio with heavily gerrymandered districts that do not properly represent the people of Ohio, Burga said. Ohio now has an opportunity to amend the situation. Redistricting should not benefit either political party but should accurately reflect the consensus of the people.
He said if fair maps are created, worker-friendly initiatives will gain greater traction to benefit working families.