AFL-CIO launching young worker outreach

October 14, 2010

A new survey by the AFL-CIO shows young workers worse off this year than they were last year.

In response, the federation is ratcheting up its outreach program to connect with the next generation of workers.

The survey shows young workers are more likely to be working part time, if at all, and have fewer resources to fall back on than they did just last year.

Only 52 percent of young workers surveyed said that they have enough savings to cover their living expenses for two months or more, compared with 60 percent in 2009.

Sixty percent report being concerned about their futures, compared with 41 percent last year. Many also are concerned they will fare worse than previous generations when they reach retirement age.

“In these tough economic times, young workers need more than ever to know the value of collective action and be connected with unions,” said AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler.

The AFL-CIO will establish a National Young Worker Advisory Council to advise the federation’s executive council on the short-term and long-term goals of the young workers’ outreach program. UTU International President Mike Futhey is a member of the executive council.

Another step being taken by the federation include developing a mentoring model for bringing experienced union leaders and young workers together to learn from each other.

The AFL-CIO also will be working with the American Federation of Teachers to develop new ways to include curricula about unions in classrooms around the country and to build a stronger presence on college campuses.