All jobs are not all equal. Some positions have more rights than others, including the ability to negotiate for better wages and benefits, while others have less support and may be forced to accept what they are offered.
This has led more workers to explore ways to solidify their workplace rights. Working Class Perspectives contributor Leo Jennings described what a working class bill of rights could look like when he appeared on the AWF Union Podcast.
Working to make people more equal
Jennings said the PRO Act is needed to create equality in the workplace. Democrats will struggle to pass the PRO Act, as no Republicans are on board with the legislation and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin has expressed opposition to removing the filibuster rule.
While many workers have the ability to organize a union, some workers do not. Jennings said it is increasingly difficult to organize a union. Roadblocks such as Supreme Court rulings and National Labor Relations Board decisions can hinder an organizing drive.
Jennings said one component of a working class bill of rights includes an increase in wages. It is celebrated when a business is able to adjust prices related to supply and demand, but wage increases related to supply and demand are never discussed.
He said wages should be raised over time and need to be indexed for inflation. This will provide a boost to states struggling with tax revenue. Higher wages allow consumers to purchase more taxed goods and services, keeping the economy moving.
Student loan debt and higher education
The cost of higher education is ever increasing. Host Ed “Flash” Ferenc told Jennings he was able to go to college nearly 40 years ago for about $3,000. Since then, the cost of a college education has astronomically risen at a quicker rate than inflation.
Jennings said the current model is not working in the modern economy. High school is no longer enough for many people, as a college degree is an interview requirement for many jobs. Universities have realized they can capitalize on this shift and have bumped up prices. He said there needs to be a response to making public higher education more affordable or free.
Owning a home
The residential real estate market is on fire. Homes are being purchased within days and sometimes hours of being put on the market. However, too many people are unable to afford owning a house.
The U.S. is filled with smaller homes that would work for many families and individuals. Jennings said banks are not interested in smaller mortgages because it means less profit. On the other hand, many renters are unable to afford the cost of a down payment on larger homes. Jennings said the federal government should subsidize down payments to help people continue living their normal lives while being able to become homeowners.