Young workers are extremely important to the UFCW. Our union has more young workers and has a younger overall average age than any other union. And with today's struggling economy, the challenges that all workers face are severe and especially real for young people in the work force.
The AFL-CIO has acknowledged the power and presence of young workers with its first Young Workers Summit. Last weekend, young union activists from around the country met in Washington, D.C. to discuss issues facing the labor movement and what young people can do to tackle these issues. Over the weekend, hundreds of young people took part in panel discussions, forums, and break-out sessions about organizing, political activism, and a path for the future of the union movement.
The forum provided like-minded young union members a place to engage in discussion. The summit also live-tweeted updates throughout the weekend.
Some of the main issues discussed were apprenticeship/internship programs for workers trying to break into the work force, the rising costs of secondary education, and new ways to engage lawmakers.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumpka expressed the need for young people to stand up for the rights of workers saying, "Working people have a right and a responsibility to demand a fair share of the profits we produce. We should not be conditioned to accept scraps from the tables of the rich and powerful. It's not greedy to work for and pursue the American dream. There’s nothing wrong with wanting fairness and security."
Young workers are essential for a progressive union movement. A new generation has to meet today's challenges facing the work force with a mission to make a difference. Our global economy is changing and young workers are needed to lead the way.