Labor Day 2019: Secure your future today
by Dustin Woods
Today is Labor Day. Again, it is time to consider the implications of the current state of affairs through the lens of the worker.
According to the Pew Research Center and CBS news reports, US workers have seen wage increases over time, but the purchasing power of those wages has remained nearly stagnant. There is not a single state in the nation where a minimum wage full-time worker can afford to rent a two-bedroom apartment without holding a part-time job.
According to OutandEqual.org, you can still be fired for being gay, lesbian or bisexual in 28 states and you can be fired for being transgender in 30 states. With those numbers in mind, it is not a surprise that the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has reported that 46 percent of LGBTQ+ workers are not out at work.
Our employment is one of the most influential aspects of our lives dictating everything from our financial status to our mental health quality. If you count the times we wake up and go to bed, 71 percent of our time is dictated by work. You'd think we should have the liberty to be ourselves while we are at work. We absolutely shouldn't have to fear our LGBTQ+ status will cause us to lose our jobs.
The struggle our community has faced is far more complicated than just a simple dichotomy between employment and unemployment. A myriad of factors can influence the quality of employment one has and their ability for upward movement within the leadership of a company.
Even the most vocal companies that claim to support the LGBTQ+ community can lack in actual representation of LGBTQ+ members in the leadership of that company. According to a 2018 Gallup report, the LGBTQ+ community makes up an estimated 4.8 percent of the US population. Yet how much of your mid to top-level leadership at work is LGBTQ+?
Forbes reports that Oxford academics estimate that 47 percent of US jobs will be lost to automation and AI by the mid-2030s. Workers in this country face a great wave of uncertainty on the horizon, and we need to create a foundation of security for ourselves ensuring that we will be able to provide for ourselves financially through non-discriminatory employment today. For such security, workers need to exert their power and collectively act to secure their rights.
So again, this Labor Day I ask all workers - not just those from the LGBTQ+ community - to consider the strength of our overpowering numbers. Some changes loom on the horizon, and we are faced with a dire importance to stand up for our inalienable right to a quality life. We must have the liberty to be ourselves at work and pursue our happiness to the highest levels. We must not be forced to experience PTSD due to (purposeful) burnout of a human resource by not treating us like human beings.
If we acted together to secure our rights in the workplace and an actual livable wage as the fruit of our labors, we would be far better prepared to face the unknowns that the future holds.
Copyright The Gayly. 9/2/2019 @ 4:29 p.m. CST.