Press Release | Better Pay and Benefits

New AFL-CIO Labor Day Report Finds Americans’ Freedom to Spend Time with Family Eroding

Majority Think Unions Key to More Benefits on the Job

View the Report Here

A new Labor Day report unveiled today by the AFL-CIO shows that working people are working more and taking fewer vacation days. The report is based on findings from a national survey conducted for the AFL-CIO by the polling firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, and was produced in collaboration with the Economic Policy Institute and the Labor Project for Working Families.

While 78% of workers say they have the day off on Labor Day, more than a quarter of those people expect to do some work, and more than half of those working will not receive overtime benefits. More than half of Americans surveyed said they were working more holidays and weekends than ever, and 43% said they brought work home at least one night a week.

Union members are more likely to receive Labor Day off and overtime pay compared with their nonunion counterparts. Sixty-six percent of union members receive overtime pay on Labor Day, compared with 38% of nonunion members. Women, often the primary caregivers in their families, are less likely than men to report access to paid time off—68% vs. 74%.

The majority of American workers credit labor unions for many of the benefits they receive.
“Union workers empowered by the freedom to negotiate with employers do better on every single economic benchmark,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “Union workers earn substantially more money, union contracts help achieve equal pay and protection from discrimination, union workplaces are safer, and union workers have better access to health care and a pension.”

Additionally, 72% of those surveyed said they thought unions were either very or somewhat responsible for working people having paid time off on Labor Day and other holidays.

Fifty-four percent of workers would join a union tomorrow if given the option. This includes 41% of Republicans surveyed. Respondents also expressed major concern that weakening unions could hurt workers’ benefits in the future.

Americans overwhelmingly report wanting to spend their Labor Day off with their families and friends.


For the latest, follow @RichardTrumka and @AFLCIO on Twitter and check out our website.

Contact: Carolyn Bobb (202) 637-5018