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Listen Longer 9/5: The Future of the American Worker

September 9, 2015  • Aspen Institute Staff

This past week Aspen Institute Radio celebrated Labor Day, featuring talks on raising the minimum wage, ways the private sector can increase economic mobility, and the future of labor unions. 

Aspen Institute Radio, our two-hour radio show, airs every Saturday and Sunday on SiriusXM Insight (channel 121). Each episode dives into the topics that inform the world around us. Here in our weekly Listen Longer posts, we’ll recap each episode and show where you can read, watch, and listen to more. Don’t have SiriusXM? Try it free for a month here

Raising the Minimum Wage: A Different Approach to the Jobs Problem

Low wage positions have made up the majority of new jobs coming out of the economic recession, increasing the problem of working people living in poverty. In this moderated panel, a business leader, workers’ rights advocate, conservative voice and prominent researcher address how raising the minimum wage could alleviate the jobs challenge.

Why Paid Leave Benefits Workers, Businesses, And Our Economy

More than 40 million working Americans lack paid sick days, leading workers to forgo earnings — and risk losing their jobs — to stay at home to care for their children or themselves as they recover from short-term illnesses. Longer leave for serious medical issues or the birth of a child is even more difficult: although the Family and Medical Leave Act (1993) guarantees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave, many cannot afford to take it. In this conversation, panelists discuss the respective challenges of unpaid and paid leave, and explore ideas for practices and policies that can better support the workforce, families, and the economy.

How Can the Private Sector Increase Economic Mobility? 

The private sector is an important source of innovation, jobs, and economic security. What role can — and should — business play in supporting economic mobility in the United States

Labor Unions: The Future Of A Worker Voice

Labor unions are a critical means for people to improve their working conditions, incomes, and social standing. Rather than support these important institutions, however, local and federal government have taken steps to weaken labor unions over the past several years. Now, workers’ voices in shaping their jobs today and tomorrow are at a crossroads. How can the nation understand the experience of workers today if there is no organized means to share their perspective?