Report | Unions and Labor Standards

A new social contract: Restoring dignity and balance to the economy

Briefing Paper #184

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The policies, institutions, and practices governing employment relationships in America no longer serve the needs of today’s working families and society at large. At a time of increased profits and productivity, wages have stagnated for everyday families, pension and health care coverage are declining, and costs are being shifted to workers. People are working harder and smarter, but they are not sharing in the gains from their efforts. The benefits of our economic growth have gone to the richest 10% of families, adding to our increasing economic inequality. Both mothers and fathers are working, yet most workplaces are outdated, forcing parents to choose between being a productive worker or a good family member. At the same time, America’s safety net is being eroded at a time when jobs have become more insecure.

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