January 20, 2015

President Obama Urges Strengthening of Unions in His 6th State of the Union Address

SOTU 2015Last night, UFCW members gathered around televisions, logged on to their computers, or followed along on their tablets and smart phones as President Obama delivered his State of the Union Address.

President Obama unveiled a number of proposals aimed at strengthening working and middle class Americans. They included:

  • Strengthening unions and building more worker protections, such as maternity leave and seven days of sick leave for all.
  • Two free years of community college.
  • A call for affordable high-speed internet access.
  • A plan that would provide tax breaks to working and middle class families, paid for by closing loopholes and deductions commonly used by the wealthiest Americans.
  • Providing affordable, high quality childcare for working parents.

As they consumed the speech, UFCW members reacted through texts and social media to what they were hearing, and what else they hoped to see the President mention:

“Raise the minimum wage. Give more tax breaks to households making under 100K a year.” –UFCW Local 8 member

“It’s important for everyone to have the freedom to bargain collectively!” –Pat Preston, Local 400 Member

“The backbone of a strong economy is the working families of the middle class.” –Donovan Jurss

“‘Right to work’ laws lower our standard of living.” –Andrew Meyers

“It’s time for working families to stop carrying the 1% on their backs! The wealthy and big business must pay their fair share!” –Shirley Bennet, Local 75

“Cap CEO salaries.” –Margaret Wolf, Local 75

“We need flexible schedules without penalty of pay loss.” –Maria Rose

“Why do working families need to work 2 to 3 jobs to survive? What happened to the ‘full-time’ job?” –Todd Walters

The economy has improved in six years, but UFCW members are still not feeling the full effects. Worker pay is not growing fast enough, income inequality is rampant, and a college education remains difficult to afford. These issues and more need to be addressed on Capitol Hill and inside State Houses before the state of our union can be considered truly strong.