Unions Not Companies Deliver Real, Sustainable Financial Security

Unions Not Companies Deliver Real,

Sustainable Financial Security



A lot of American working-class families struggle financially. A range of organizations thus encourage employers to help their employees gain more financial security. The goal is to provide families with some peace of mind, so that they become better at their jobs. Real employee financial security – higher wages, better benefits and more stable jobs – does not come from employers’ goodwill, but from workers negotiating for it, typically through a union.

Several organizations have conducted research on how and why employers should focus on employees’ financial security. For example, Gallup researchers argue that both employers and employees benefit when employers offer financial wellness initiatives. The Aspen Institute analyzed changing financial wellness programs and their popularity, concluding that they could help people achieve financial security if they became larger and more effective. Other research at the Aspen Institute show that income volatility is an important driver for financial insecurity now and in the future. And AARP supports more help from employers to their employees in saving for emergencies. Such emergencies can come from health care issues and responsibilities for caring for a child and an aging loved one. Employers who want to create more financial security for their employees could then provide employees with more help saving for emergencies, financial counseling but also more health insurance and paid family leave.


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Christian Weller, Senior Contributor
I am a professor of public policy at the University of Massachusetts Boston and a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. I joined academia in 2007 after working full time in Washington, DC, think tanks for almost a decade. My research has focused on retirement issues, including Social Security, private and public pensions and retirement savings such as 401(k) accounts for the past two decades. I have written and published extensively on retirement issues, including my recent book Retirement on the Rocks. My goal is to support retirement policy through meaningful research, especially in a time of growing economic risks that both increase the need for more savings and make it harder for people to save. I regularly speak to a wide variety of audiences such as financial service providers, union leaders and retirement activists and I frequently appear on national radio and TV.



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