What the worst states to work in have in common, according to Oxfam America
Share Now on:
Where’s the best state to live in, if you’re a worker? Oxfam America looked at everything from minimum and median wages, to paid leave, to support for unions. It ranked Oregon, California and Washington at the top. North Carolina, Mississippi and Georgia brought up the rear.
So, why these states ended up where they did on the list?
Oxfam America researcher Kaitlyn Henderson said the states at the bottom have some things in common. None of them mandate a minimum wage above the federal floor of $7.25 per hour. They don’t guarantee paid leave. And some restrict workers’ rights to organize.
And she said the fewer protections there are for workers, “the more likely there are people who live in that state that are food insecure, living in poverty, where there is a higher rate of infant mortality.”
One way for workers to improve their situation is through collective bargaining. A recent analysis by consumer finance website SmartAsset found that union membership is associated with higher pay, said researcher Susannah Snider.
“Nonunion workers have median weekly earnings that are just 83% of what union members earn,” she said.
The states with the highest rates of union membership and growth are Washington, Oregon and California – the same three at the top of Oxfam’s best-states-to-work list.
There’s a lot happening in the world. Through it all, Marketplace is here for you.
You rely on Marketplace to break down the world’s events and tell you how it affects you in a fact-based, approachable way. We rely on your financial support to keep making that possible.
Your donation today powers the independent journalism that you rely on. For just $5/month, you can help sustain Marketplace so we can keep reporting on the things that matter to you.