Reclaiming a lost decade

It also shows that times are even tougher for young workers of color, workers without college degrees and women.

One of the most stunning findings reveals that more than one in three are deferring their dreams of adulthood and still live at home with their parents.

On the upside, the report shows that young workers are ready to take action to turn this around. Thirty-five percent say they voted for the first time in 2008, and three-quarters now keep tabs on government and public affairs, even when there's no election going on.

Also on the upside, young workers believe things can get better. A clear majority overall and 70 percent of first time voters among them are confident that President Obama will take the country in the right direction.

But they cannot be left to fight alone.

The opportunity to organize millions of workers will open up with passage of labor law reform. A huge part of this effort must be directed at young people, 75 percent of whom already say that things would be better on the job if they had a union.

Right wing legislators who call for cuts in government spending and "balancing" the budget in the name of the future well being of generations to come are not hearing what young workers are saying. The report shows they want and must get health care reform and massive programs that create good, green jobs.

Spending to do these things is not, as the right wing would have us believe, some type of reckless frittering away of the future. It is instead the most common-sense investment in everyday people, particularly young people, that we can possibly make.

The labor movement is taking important steps in reaching out to this new generation. Labor allies and progressives of all ages can join hands with young workers who are telling us that they are willing and ready to fight for that future.

 

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