Making a Living Wage Ranked Top Workforce Issue for Next President

April 23, 2008 ( - American workers appear to be most concerned that the next president focus on increasing the proportion of American workers that earn a living wage, according to a survey from the Employment Law Alliance.

In the survey of 1,125 individuals, 87% said the living wage issue was somewhat or very important. Making it harder for U.S. companies to outsource American jobs to foreign countries (86%) and providing health coverage for all U.S. citizens (83%) ranked as the second and third most important workplace issue for the next president’s focus.

Rankings of other workplace regulation issues in the survey were:

  • Increase workplace safety regulation – 76%,
  • Expand family leave laws to cover a wider range of family obligations – 70%,
  • Strengthen enforcement of workplace discrimination laws – 69%,
  • Make it easier for unions to organize – 45%, and
  • Allow employees to sue/collect damages for workplace bullying – 43%.

By race, non-white workers surveyed ranked providing health coverage for all U.S. citizens (91%) as the number one workplace issue for the next president, while increasing the proportion of workers that earn at least a living wage (87%) was the number one issue for white workers surveyed. The living wage issue and keeping jobs in the U.S. tied (89%) as the number two issue among non-white respondents, while strengthening enforcement of workplace discrimination laws ranked third (87%).

The survey found that compared to Independents, Democrats are significantly more likely and

Republicans are significantly less likely to identify as priorities for the next president:

  • Increasing the proportion of American Workers earning a living wage – (94%(D), 80%(R),88%(I));
  • Providing healthcare for all US citizens (94%,68%,82%);
  • Expanding family leave laws (84%,56%,67%); and
  • Strengthening workplace discrimination law enforcement (84%,54%,66%).

Democrats also place significantly greater importance than do Republicans and

Independents on:

  • Making it harder to outsource US jobs to foreign countries (93%(D),83%(R),86%(I));
  • Increasing workplace safety regulation (86%,69%,74%);
  • Making it easier for unions to organize workers (63%,33%,37%); and
  • Allowing employees to sue and collect damages for workplace bullying (52%,34%,68%).

The Alliance also asked about the importance of key immigration issues as a focus for the next president – such as making it easier for foreign scientists and engineers to work in the U.S. (40%), increasing the number of immigrants allowed in the U.S. (35%), and granting amnesty to immigrants currently illegally working in the U.S. (25%) – and found immigration issues were much less important overall to American workers than workplace regulation issues.

Complete results of the survey can be viewed here .