Nearly half of American workers still not using all vacation tim - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Nearly half of American workers still not using all vacation time

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La Crosse, WI (WXOW) -

For many it's the unofficial start of fall, the school year and football season and usually Labor Day means time to spend at home with families. However, a report from the Wisconsin AFL-CIO shows that fewer workers in the state are doing that.

According to that report, despite 78% of those surveyed saying they have Labor Day off, a quarter of those say they are going to work anyway without overtime or other holiday benefits.

It reflects a trend of Americans consistently failing to use allotted vacation time. Last year, half of Americans did not do so and an AP poll this year showed that more than half of Americans didn't plan on taking any summer vacations because they couldn't afford it. 

Local unions blame a reduced ability to bargain with having fewer dollars to spend. Todd Strasser, President of the 519 chapter of Amalgamated Transit Union, says he's part of one of the few unions left who can still collectively bargain in the state.

"There's a lot of my brothers and sisters out here that don't have that option as I do," Strasser said. "Without the forward knowledge of what my international did, I wouldn't be here where I am today."

The number of union members in the state of Wisconsin has dropped since the early part of the decade. At least 100,000 fewer workers in both the public and the private sectors were members as of 2015, something labor unions blame on the implementation of Act 10 legislation in 2011. Since that time, unemployment has dropped significantly from 8% down to 3.2%, however the wage gap between the average worker (>$50,000) and Wisconsin's top earners (<$930,000) is the widest since the Great Depression. 

On the flip side, higher paying jobs tend to take even less vacation with the expectation being that for more money, you have to make yourself more available.

Idaho tops a list of most unused vacation according to research from Project: Time Off, with a whopping 78% failing to use all their time off. Wisconsin comes in around 44%.

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