1435 Morris Avenue - Suite 3A, Union, NJ 07083
Tim Haresign, President

Common Sense Economics for Unions

On August 28th, 2015 AFT Local 1904's Executive Board participated in the AFL-CIO's Common Sense Economics training, titled "Workonomics" and learned how unions have helped to grow -- not hurt -- the economy. A review of historical economic trends illustrated how the country's wealth was more fairly shared with working people when unions were strong and how worker wages have stagnated since the mid-1970s when income inequality began to grow as a result of neoliberal economic policies.

The Local’s Executive Board learned during the workshop that the one percent’s complaint about the high rate of taxes is unfounded because the top tax rate in 1937 was 79% on every dollar earned over $5 million, which would be the equivalent of 79% on every dollar earned over $81 million today. The top tax rate today is 39.6%.  So, as a nation, in the late 1930s we made a deliberate choice to tax higher incomes at a higher rate to invest in and grow the economy for all Americans. The same cannot be said for today.

To address this problem, the Local 1904 Executive Board is embarking on an effort to increase the number of full-dues members at Montclair State University through an agressive membership recruitment drive. By increasing its membership, the Local will strengthen its position at the negotiations table and its ability to fight for a fair contract.  Building a strong union doesn't just benefit us today but helps the next generation, including our children, have a secure economic future and an economy in which all workers can benefit and succeed.

The August workshop was led by Jennifer Higgins, Professional Staff Negotiations Coordinator for the Local and Professional Staff Representative for the Council. In June, Jennifer completed the AFL-CIO’s Common Sense Economics NextUp Young Worker Train-the-Trainer Program. Since June, she has presented and co-presented five workshops, the most recently on September 29th as a part of the New Jersey AFL-CIO’s Young Workers Advisory Committee’s statewide training of young workers on Common Sense Economics.

The workshop was well attended with younger union members from throughout the trades and professions. Both public & private sectors engaged in discussion about the economic and legislative issues that impact working families. We thank Jennifer Higgins for her hard work and dedication.

With Election Day around the corner, attendees were also asked to commit one of their upcoming Saturday mornings to participate in the NJ AFL-CIO’s very successful Labor Walk program. You can learn more about labor walks and volunteer for, here.