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Young Workers Face Challenges

The AFL-CIO has released a new report on young workers.

Today young workers are less likely to have health care or economic security than they were 10 years ago, and one-third live in their parents’ home, according to a new national survey released by the AFL-CIO.

The report, “Young Workers: A Lost Decade,” follows up on a similar survey the AFL-CIO conducted in 1999. The deterioration of young workers’ economic situation in those 10 years is alarming:

  • 31 percent of young workers report being uninsured, up from 24 percent 10 years ago, and 79 percent of those without health care coverage say it’s because they can’t afford it or their employer does not offer it. 
  • One in three young workers live at home with their parents. 
  • Only 31 percent say they make enough money to cover their bills and put some money aside — 22 percentage points fewer than in 1999. 
  • 37 percent have put off education or professional development because they can’t afford it.
  • When asked who is most responsible for the country’s economic woes, close to 50 percent of young workers place the blame on Wall Street and banks or corporate CEOs. And young workers say greed by corporations and CEOs is the factor most to blame for in the current financial downturn

Young workers are facing many new challenges on the job, especially during this recession. AFSCME joins the AFL-CIO in working with young union members to build the labor movement, revitalize the economy, and to pass health care reform and the Employee Free Choice Act.

That’s why AFSCME started a special program, the Next Wave, designed to reach out to young union members and to provide them with the tools and connections to get them ready for future union leadership. The Next Wave is bringing new ideas and energy in into AFSCME and advancing the labor movement.


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