Statement of SEIU President Andy Stern Regarding Growth in Union Membership in 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Published 3:20 PM Eastern - Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Ali Jost, 202-730-7159, Ali.jost@seiu.org

A Sign of Hope in Tough Economic Times, More Than 88,000 Workers United in SEIU in 2008 to Improve Their Lives and the Services They Deliver

WASHINGTON, DC--SEIU President Andy Stern issued the following statement regarding today's announcement from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that the percentage of American workers belonging to a union increased for a second consecutive year in 2008:

"More and more American workers are joining together in unions to claim a share in the prosperity they help to create, while working to improve the services they provide.

"Let this be a sign to those who would tell us that 'now is not the time' for workers have a voice at work: you're not fooling anyone. America's working families know that unions are still the best path to economic prosperity for workers in the U.S.

"In 2008, the American people said 'no' to enriching the few at the expense of the many; they expressed outrage at a Republican administration willing to bail out Wall Street with hard-earned tax dollars from Main Street. They elected a new President and Congress who have pledged to restore the America where prosperity is shared and hard work is rewarded.

"Looking ahead in 2009, working people are organizing and fighting for an economic recovery package that keeps people working, creates new jobs, and maintains vital services for our communities; affordable healthcare for all; and protections to ensure workers' right to choose freely whether and how to come together for a voice at work."

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) annual union membership report, released today, shows that the share of workers belonging to a union rose in 2008. This is the largest growth rate on record since the data was first collected in 1983. Growth in SEIU--88,926 members--accounted for nearly 21 percent of the national growth.

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