Obama: The Middle Class Was Built With A ‘Union Label’
President Barack Obama argued unions must be strengthened to protect the very middle class they helped create during a Wednesday appearance at the White House Worker Voice Summit.
“Labor unions were often the driving force of progress,” the president said. “The middle class itself was built on a union label.”
The president spoke to a room full of workers, union leaders and business representatives. Expanding upon points made by Secretary of Labor Tom Perez and guest speakers earlier in the day, the president said unions are more necessary now than ever. As the economy begins to recover and technologies become more innovative, the president claimed unions are the best way to make sure average workers aren’t left behind.
“I believe when people attack unions, they’re attacking the middle class,” the president said. “In today’s economy, we should make it easier for people to join unions, not harder.”
A primary issue for the president is a state-level law known as right-to-work. The policy, which has passed in 25 states, outlaws mandatory union dues or fees as a condition of employment. The president said the policy has led to a decline in union membership, which has hurt middle class workers.
“Wages need to rise more quickly,” the president continued. “In order to do that, workers need a voice.”