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Study Shows Unions Good for Working Families
Teamster Magazine, July 16, 2009

A study released by UC Berkeley today again shows what hundreds of thousands of rank-and-file Teamsters already know: Unions are good for working families.

The study shows that unions have a positive impact on family-friendly workplace policies like paid family leave, paid sick days, family health insurance and child-care benefits.

The new study was released by the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education and the Labor Project for Working Families.

"As more Americans are struggling to raise and care for their families at the same time they're holding down a job, workplace policies that facilitate a work-family balance are becoming increasingly important. We looked at whether unions make a difference for these families, and it turns out that unionization has a positive impact on key family-friendly policies like family health insurance, paid family leave, and child-care benefits," said Jenifer MacGillvary of the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education, a co-author of the new report, "Family-Friendly Workplaces: Do Unions Make a Difference?"

According to the UC Berkeley report, evidence from the research literature on family-friendly workplaces suggests:

Family-friendly workplace policies are more important than ever before because more families are jugging work and care-giving responsibilities. For example, nearly 25 percent of U.S. households provide care to people aged 50 or older; and 75 percent of children live in families where all parents work.

"As Congress prepares to debate the Employee Free Choice Act in coming months, policy makers should understand that unions have helped improve workplace policies for thousands of working families and could do the same things for millions of families if EFCA becomes the law of the land," said report co-author Netsy Firestein, executive director of the nonprofit Labor Project For Working Families.

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