Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
Wednesday, May 8th, 2013
Based on what Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was saying on the Senate floor Wednesday morning, it sounds like he’s a no on President Obama’s nomination of Thomas Perez for labor secretary, and like we’re going to see yet another filibuster:
“He is a committed ideologue who appears willing, quite frankly, to say or do anything to achieve his ideological ends,” McConnell said on the floor. “His willingness, time and again, to bend or ignore the law and to misstate the facts in order to advance his far-left ideology lead me and others to conclude that he’d continue to do so if he were confirmed to another, and much more consequential, position of public trust.”Foreshadowing a filibuster of Perez, the minority leader, who is up for reelection next year, pounded earlier remarks by the nominee saying it’s sometimes necessary to “push the envolope” when federal law is “muddled.”
“Taken together,” McConnell said, “all of this paints the picture, for me at least, not of a passionate liberal who sees himself as patiently operating within the system and through the democratic process to advance a particular set of strongly held beliefs, but a crusading ideologue whose conviction about his own rightness on the issues leads him to believe the law does not apply to him. Unbound by the rules that apply to everyone else, Mr. Perez seems to view himself as free to employ whatever means at his disposal, legal or otherwise, to achieve his ideological goals.”
Previously, Republican senators have said they object to Perez because he testified after the fact about a decision he wasn’t involved in and which two investigations have said was appropriate, but which allows Republicans to link Perez’s name with the New Black Panther Party so they’re going to keep talking about it despite it being a non-story with which he was not involved anyway. Also, Sen. Tom Coburn is upset about a requirement that some doctors provide translators for patients who don’t speak English, and Republicans claim that Perez misled senior officials and covered up his motivation in a housing discrimination case in which he in fact consulted with a series of senior officials before taking action.
Basically, Perez is an Obama nominee who’s tough and effective in service of vulnerable people, not those in power. Being an Obama nominee is reason enough for many Republican senators to oppose him. But being tough and effective for people who aren’t rich or powerful? That’s really not to be tolerated.
This article was originally posted on the Daily Kos on May 8, 2013. Reprinted with Permission.
About the Author: Laura Clawson is an editor at the Daily Kos.
Saturday, February 9th, 2013
Anyone with common sense would agree that healthy families are essential to a robust economy. That’s why it’s worth celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Family Medical Leave Act on February 5; one of the most significant advances for working families in our nation’s history. In 1993, FMLA transformed the workplace and strengthened the American family by helping millions of workers secure job-protected leave to recuperate from a serious illness, give birth or adopt a new child, or take care of a seriously ill family member. Prior to FMLA, many people lost their jobs when these types of life events occurred. Workers have used FMLA more than 100 million times since its enactment during the Clinton administration.
Diane, a Denver teacher for ten years, was able to keep her job while battling cancer, thanks to the FMLA. The mother of a young son at the time, Diane said “I was able to take time off because I qualified for FMLA. Because I [also] had access to paid sick days, and a paid sick leave bank, I was able to get some wage replacement while I was out for three months.” Diane was one of the fortunate ones, because she had access to FMLA and a paid sick leave bank that helped keep her financially afloat.
As critical as FMLA continues to be in protecting jobs and families, there are major gaps in the law. FMLA’s biggest weakness is that it’s unpaid. Seventy-eight percent of covered employees who need FMLA, don’t take it because they can’t afford to. And almost half of all workers lack job protection under FMLA because they haven’t worked for their employer long enough, they’re not scheduled for enough hours, or the size of their company is too small to make them eligible. The definition of “family” also needs to be expanded beyond spouses, children and parents so that the law is more relevant to real peoples’ lives and caregiving responsibilities. Moreover, the reasons someone can take leave are severely limited in the law. In addition to improving FMLA, paid sick days need to be expanded to cover more routine illnesses and preventive care that aren’t covered by FMLA.
Women in low-wage jobs are least likely to have any paid sick, personal, or vacation time at all, leaving one of the most vulnerable segments of our workforce unprotected. Ten percent of women who did take FMLA ended up on public assistance.
Sonya worked full-time as a medical interviewer for 11 years at a large hospital in Atlanta. During her pregnancy, she saved up money totaling two months of expenses to help her pay her bills while she was on FMLA. But when Sonya’s son was born prematurely and placed in intensive care and she needed to take additional time off to care for her medically-fragile son, she used up her leave and savings pretty quickly. Even though Sonya had access to FMLA, she ended up on public assistance and struggled to make ends meet.
Unfortunately, many people are still forced to go to work when they need to be at home caring for themselves or their families. Americans agree that there’s nothing more important than taking responsibility and caring for your family members. After 20 years, it’s time to make FMLA more affordable and accessible. Our country needs healthy and economically secure families to help fuel a strong, thriving economy.
To read additional stories from hardworking Americans who have benefited from FMLA, as well as those unable to do so because of a lack of accessibility or affordability, click here. Their voices make a strong case for strengthening and improving FMLA so that more of us are able to balance responsibilities at home and on the job.
This article was submitted by the new website 9to5.
About the Author: Linda Meric is the National Public Relations Coordinator at 9to5.
Wednesday, January 9th, 2013
Three Take-Aways from the EEOC’s Strategic Enforcement Plan
By Commissioner Chai R. Feldblum
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enters the New Year with the wind at its back. Following the enactment in February 2012 of a four-year Strategic Plan that addressed all aspects of the agency’s work, the Commission met the plan’s first performance measure with the enactment in December 2012 of a Strategic Enforcement Plan for 2013-2016 (SEP).
There are three take-aways from the SEP:
1) The agency’s targeted focus on select areas of law will hopefully result in a demonstrable impact on unlawful discrimination in those areas.
2) An active and engaged Commission will stay abreast of activities undertaken pursuant to its delegated authority.
3) The Commission will take steps necessary to bring coherence and vigor to its federal sector work.
A) A Targeted Enforcement Focus
The SEP establishes a list of priority enforcement areas for the agency. These include:
· Discriminatory class-based recruitment and hiring practices
· Issues affecting immigrant and migrant workers
· Emerging areas of law (such as certain ADA issues; accommodating pregnancy-related limitations; and coverage of LGBT people under sex discrimination law, as it may apply)
· Compensation systems and practices that discriminate based on gender
· Policies and practices that discourage or prohibit individuals from exercising their rights
· Systemic harassment
Meritorious charges raising one of these issues will receive focused attention by EEOC investigators and lawyers. By providing direction to agency staff regarding the issues that require careful review, the priority list will help the EEOC focus its investigatory resources and lead to more timely conciliations if reasonable cause is found in such charges and to more timely litigation if conciliation fails.
Employers and unions would thus do well to review the list of priority areas and be sure their compliance programs are up-to-date regarding these issues. Lawyers representing clients should also be aware that if a client has a meritorious claim in one of these areas, that claim will be getting focused attention.
But the list does NOT mean the agency will be focused only on these issues.
The SEP also reaffirms the agency’s existing Priority Charge Handling Procedures (PCHP). PCHP provides that a meritorious charge of egregious discrimination will get priority attention – regardless of whether the charge concerns an issue that is on the agency’s substantive priority list.
The dual message for employers and unions should thus be clear:
1) Review your compliance programs in the six priority areas noted above to make sure they are up to date regarding these issues.
2) Make sure you have a workplace that is free of any type of discrimination because if a potential charging party comes to the EEOC with an egregious case of discrimination, the agency will give it focused attention.
The single message for applicants and employees should also be clear: the EEOC will be focused, strategic, and effective.
B) An Active and Engaged Commission
In 1996, the Commission delegated its significant authority to commence litigation to its General Counsel and Regional Attorneys under a set of criteria outlined in its National Enforcement Plan (NEP). Delegation of authority was then, and remains now, an essential mechanism for carrying out the agency’s enforcement responsibilities. But it is only when delegation is paired with direction and accountability that good governance results.
In 2012, upon reviewing the sixteen years of delegation, a majority of the Commission through the SEP recognized the crucial role that delegation played in shaping the EEOC’s vigorous litigation program. But the direction and accountability that makes delegation good governance needed some updating.
First, while the original criteria for cases requiring prior Commission approval still stands, the SEP now requires that the Commission see a minimum of one case from each district.
Second, the SEP retains the accountability mechanism that the Commission put in place in 1996 – a quarterly report from the General Counsel on how delegated authority is exercised – but revitalizes it by requiring formal quarterly meetings on delegation.
In addition, through regulations, the Commission has delegated its authority in investigations and conciliations to its District Directors and its authority in providing remedial relief in the federal sector to its Office of Federal Operations. The SEP now establishes a new quarterly meeting for the Office of Field Programs to report on important investigations and conciliations and the Office of Federal Operations to report on significant rulings by Administrative Judges.
Finally, the SEP requires a new set of multi-year planning documents. I know these might raise a yawn from some readers, but speaking from inside the agency—these planning documents can be very helpful. For the first time, the agency will have a national, multi-year communications, outreach and education plan, and a multi-year plan for updating its subregulatory guidance. And the Commission will vote on a new multi-year research plan, placing the agency at the forefront of proactive research and analysis.
C) A Coherent and Vigorous Federal Sector Program
Congress has created an internal grievance procedure for federal applicants and employees that is in addition to, and separate from, such individuals’ private right of action in court. Under this internal system, the Commission has the right to order remedial relief for applicants and employees if it finds that a federal agency has engaged in discrimination.
In developing the SEP, the Commission heard from various stakeholders concerned with the disparate parts of the federal sector program. The SEP now provides that the Commission will vote in 2013 on a plan to establish a coherent structure for its federal sector work. That is a good thing.
* * *
Finally, for those who believe the SEP inappropriately elevates enforcement over education or improperly reinforces an “integrated” system of enforcement, I have only this to say: read the statute. Congress empowered the Commission to prevent any person from engaging in any unlawful employment practice “as hereinafter provided.” As the statute then provides, the means by which the Commission is to prevent unlawful employment practices is by investigating charges, attempting voluntary conciliation in charges where there is reasonable cause to believe discrimination has occurred, and litigating if conciliation fails. There is only one Commission on whom these obligations are placed, which is why the Supreme Court underscored the importance of the “integrated, multi-step enforcement procedure” established by the statute. Occidental Life Ins. Co. v. EEOC, 432 U.S. 355, 359-60 (1977). In addition, while Congress expects the EEOC to engage in education and technical assistance (as those activities are provided for elsewhere in the statute), those are not the primary responsibilities placed on us by Congress.
The EEOC’s SEP for 2013-1016 is a dynamic document that has the potential to do great good. I recommend reading it!
Chai R. Feldblum is one of the Commissioners of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), a five-person Commission charged with enforcing employment anti-discrimination laws in the United States. Prior to her appointment to the EEOC, Chai Feldblum was a Professor of Law at the Georgetown University Law Center from 1991-2009. She has played a leading role in developing legislation to advance disability rights, LGBT rights, and workplace flexibility. The opinions expressed in this post are those of Commissioner Feldblum alone and do not reflect the opinions of the EEOC, the Federal Government, or any individual attorney. The opinions provided are for informational purposes only and are not for the purpose of providing legal advice.
Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) urged lawmakers to embrace a package that could avert the so-called fiscal cliff, noting that 2.1 million Americans have already lost federal unemployment benefits as a result of Congressional inaction. “From this point on, it is lose-lose,” Feinstein explained, during an appearance on Fox News Sunday. “My big worry, is, a contraction of the economy. The loss of jobs, which could be well over 2 million in addition to the people already on unemployment.”
Indeed, the National Employment Law Project, a worker advocacy group, projects that “more than 2 million Americans will stop receiving benefits after Dec. 29, when the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program will cease to exist.” The benefits have kept 2.3 million out of poverty last year alone, and the Congressional Budget Office projects that a full, year-long extension would lead to the creation of 300,000 new jobs.
The initiative requires recipients to search for a job while receiving payments, and one study found that unemployment recipients search harder for jobs than those who are not receiving money from the program.
Earlier this week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) demanded spending cuts to pay for the program, which would cost $30 billion. Democrats have been pushing for a full extension of benefits.
This post was originally posted on Think Progress on December 30, 2012. Reprinted with Permission.
About the Author: Igor Volsky is the Deputy Editor of ThinkProgress.org. Igor is co-author of Howard Dean’s Prescription for Real Healthcare Reform and has appeared on MSNBC, CNN, Fox Business, Fox News, and CNBC television, and has been a guest on many radio shows. In 2011, Forbes named Igor one of their top 30 under 30 in Law & Policy. Igor grew up in Russia, Israel and New Jersey and graduated from Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York. He was previously the Health and LGBT editor at ThinkProgress.
Friday, December 28th, 2012
This morning Meteor Blades reported that Jobless benefits claims drop again, but numbers could be skewed by holiday closures of state offices, including this sad news for those whose base unemployment payments have been used up:
Come Saturday, if the president and congressional leaders do not come to agreement on fiscal matters, some 2.1 million people will lose their benefits under the federal extensions. If those extensions are not renewed in the new year, an estimated 900,000 more people will lose their benefits by April 1. Some economists say that such a cut-off combined with the end of the payroll tax cut could, by themselves, throw the nation back into recession.
Arthur Delany picks up this theme in Congress Almost Certain To Blow Unemployment Deadline, telling us even if the special House session convened by Speaker Boehner should unexpectedly pass a solution to budget crisis, it will be too late for the 2 million unemployed who are receiving exgended benefits under the Emergency Unemployment Compensation act:
Democrats have demanded a full reauthorization of emergency benefits through next year, which would cost $30 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The current regimen of benefits provides up to 47 weeks in states with high unemployment rates, for a combined 73 weeks of state and federal compensation. Jobless workers in only nine states are eligible for the full duration.
Republicans have been quiet about the benefits, which many observers consider a sign they won’t be a deal-breaker for the GOP. President Barack Obama included unemployment compensation when he called on Congress to pass a scaled-down “fiscal cliff” bill late last week.
Representative Steny Hoyer (D-MD) says:
“I’ve never seen a public as energized or as knowledgeable about an issue as they are about the fiscal cliff,” Hoyer said. “I don’t mean that they know every paragraph, sentence, and ramification of the failure to stop going over the fiscal cliff, but they know it will not be positive. They know it will have a negative impact on the economy and they know it will have a negative impact on them and their families. And they are expecting us to be here to work, and we’re not.”
One advantage of rallying public compassion and outrage to extend these benefits as a stand alone bill, on its own merits, starting in the Senate, might be that we may end up having to make less severe concessions to the intransigent House Republicans to get an extension than we’ve apparently offered to House Speaker Boehner in the rejected “grand bargain” which is reported to have included chained CPI which would have cost seniors vastly more in human suffering and start the steady compounding reduction of the value to recipients essentially forever.
I hope Senate Majority leader Harry Reid proposes a stand alone bill extending these benefits we can rally behind, as well as as many other bills combining this with $250,000 threshold tax cuts, and Medicare doctors fix. My hope is that if we are willing to play hardball, and rally public support around each component of the “fiscal cliff” we may get through the whole situation with the least possible damage to our common good and the constituencies that depend on the Democratic Party to defend their interests.
This post was originally posted on The Daily Kos on December 27, 2012. Reprinted with Permission.
Monday, September 10th, 2012
The other day, I read an article on Forbes called “Tips For Dealing With Lazy Co-Workers.”
It’s a fun topic, isn’t it, because we all love to feel like we are the only ones working hard. And it’s such a hardship to put up with lazy old Joe in the next cube over. Ugh!
Time to review one of our favorite words: Sludge.
“Sludge” is the toxic language we use to judge people for how they spend their time. It’s based on old beliefs about how work should happen.
Sludge is when someone says, “10:00 a.m. and you’re just getting in? I wish I could come in late every day.” The belief being expressed here is that work happens between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. The person who isn’t in the building at 8:00 a.m. is therefore not working.
Focusing on lazy co-workers is a waste of time. It’s Sludge.
Changing Workplace Culture
No one wins when you play office politics, so stop playing the game! For all the lists out there that we’ve seen lately (ahem.. “Tips for Pretending Like You’re Really Working” or “Tips for How to Dress Like a Really Serious Professional” or “Tips to Fake Being ‘On’ 24/7”), I present to you a Results-Only perspective: 10 Tips for Becoming a Workplace Politics Rebel
10. Remind yourself that you are an adult.
That’s right. Ask yourself why, as an adult, you have to ask your boss for permission to do the following:
Take a longer lunch
Use the restroom (Yes, some clients of ours used to be required to ask for a hall pass!)
Explain why you’re not putting in extra hours
9. What is fair? Getting paid to deliver results. Period.
Remember college? If you didn’t know the material, you got a bad grade. If you skipped every class and had no clue what classes you were even taking and got a bad grade, you were accountable. No results? No GRADE. You are getting paid to deliver something for the organization. At work, what it should come down to is this: “No results, no job.”
8. Get clear on measurable results.
What isn’t measurable is subject to interpretation. This puts you as an employee in a bad spot and tempts the boss to reward face-time and presenteeism.
Not sure what you’re supposed to be doing or delivering? Do not waste another minute filling time. Go to your boss and be relentless about identifying–in writing–how you are going to measure your work. What is success? And then run from anything that is subjective.
“I’d like you to work on being a team player” is absolutely not a business goal. It’s up to the interpretation of everyone around you and you’ll never win that one.
7. See old beliefs for what they are. Old.
Relationships are best built face-to-face. Some people just need more supervision. People who are in the office are more dedicated. The best collaboration happens in the office. Core hours are important to the customer. People who telework are slackers.
If any of these beliefs made you say “that’s so true”’ then you’re six degrees of separation away from focusing on what is important. There’s a new definition for the social aspect of work.
6. Stop talking about “availability”
It’s time to cease the wasted energy surrounding these phrases: “Who is available?”, “When will you be available?”, “Are you available from 8-5?”, “Will you be available next week?”, “What time this afternoon will you be available?”, “We need to be available for our customers.”
Get a grip! We have voicemail and email–the superheroes that work 24/7 to gather information for us. So that we can get work done. Voicemail and email are on 24/7, but that doesn’t mean you should be! In response to all that gathered information, what people need to do is…coming up in the next point.
5. Respond. Not fast…not slow…but based on the work.
Respond to the needs of the business – the work. Who best knows your job? You. And according to #6, you have superheroes gathering information for you so that you can respond to the needs of your business. Only you know how speedy that needs to be.
An on-call surgeon has a different response time then an accountant (unless it’s April 15th). If someone asks “will you be available on Friday?” respond politely, but firmly, with the magic phrase: “is there something you need?”
6. Let go of the clock. Just… let… it… go!
Time only matters if it is about a deadline. Or if you decided to meet at 1:00 p.m., 1:00 p.m. is relevant. Anyone who thinks 8 a.m. is some magical time that work should begin and 5pm is some magical time work should end – for most people – is seriously living in 1952.
If you find yourself looking at the clock and barking out comments like “It’s nine o’clock! Where the heck is Bob?!” please go back and review all of the points in this post.
3. Only ‘meet’ if the work requires meeting.
Find yourself getting caught up in unproductive meetings that are wasting your time and going nowhere? It’s not the meeting organizer’s fault. It’s yours. Look at all the meetings you have on your calendar. For each meeting, ask the following questions:
Is there a clear, measurable outcome that will affect the measurable outcome of your work? Do you know your role? Is a meeting the best way to accomplish the outcome?
If the answer is yes, then meet. If not, ask the meeting organizer to clarify these things for you and if they can’t, politely decline.
2. Mind your own business.
Now that you’ve accomplished #8, this is your focus. What time Susie is coming in, or how much vacation Bob is getting, is not important. Each and every day, reach out to people and tell them exactly what you need and when you need it in order to accomplish what you’ve agreed to deliver, and the rest will take care of itself. Whether Jill is working from home, a cabin, or a cube is irrelevant. And how much vacation time Bob gets – yep. Irrelevant.
1. Focus on what matters
At the risk of sounding a bit Pollyanna-ish, your life is what matters. The old adage “nobody on their deathbed ever said ‘I wish I’d spent more time in the office’” had it right. If we continue to play the old workplace politics game that includes who stayed the longest, who put in the most time, who looked the busiest and who was the most effective at sucking up to the boss, then we’re all losers.
This blog originally appeared in ROWE on September 2, 2012. Reprinted with permission.
About the Author: Cali Ressler is co-creator of the Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE). She’s the co-author of the bestselling Why Work Sucks and How to Fix It, and a nationally recognized keynote speaker.
Tuesday, August 14th, 2012
There is a common misconception that the Family and Medical Leave Act only include provisions that apply to pregnancy and childbirth. In fact, there are many scenarios that working people face which could benefit from leave guaranteed under FMLA laws. It is important for all workers to be aware of FMLA and what it covers, because this 12 week allotment of unpaid leave may be of great assistance in many situations.
FMLA does cover issues pertaining to pregnancy and childbirth. But, what about other parenting situations? For example, what if an employee adopts a child? Or, what if a parent has a sick child? FMLA can be applied in these situations as long as the situation qualifies. Furthermore, FMLA does not have to be used as a single extended period of leave. If, for example, a parent has a child who must be taken to the doctor regularly for treatment, that parent may take leave in small increments to do this. Even if the time needed is only an hour, FMLA can be used. All an employee has to do is provide the employer with sufficient information to explain why the leave is needed and when it will be taken.
What if there is a family member other than a child who is having significant health issues? Can an employee have leave under FMLA to care for them? Unequivocally yes as long as the employee qualifies. To qualify the employee must work for a qualifying organization, have worked at least 1,250 hours in a year, give an explanation of why and when the leave is needed, and provide medical certification to prove the need for leave. When an employee needs time to care for the needs of a child, spouse, or parent, FMLA provides it. Leave may be used to take a family member for medical treatments, such as chemotherapy and dialysis. It may also be used to care for a family member with a chronic condition such as Alzheimer’s.
There are other situations where FMLA may be applied that are less well-known. For example, many people don’t realize that FMLA makes special provisions that apply to military personnel, including those in the Reserves or National Guard. If an employee has a spouse, child, or parent who is in the military, they may take FMLA leave to cover the needs that arise if that person is called to duty. These could include financial preparations, handling legal arrangements, and attending military functions. FMLA can also be used for the purpose of spending time with a serviceperson who is on short-term, temporary leave during deployment.
Lastly, people should remember that FMLA can be used in order to care for an employee’s own serious health issues. This doesn’t mean that you can use FMLA to recuperate from a cold. But, if you have a significant health situation arise, or if you have a chronic issue like asthma or arthritis, FMLA can help you. Employees will need to provide a medical certification form completed by a physician to document the need for leave.
If you need to take time off for a significant health reason, for a parenting issue, or for something relating to active military duty, you need to examine FMLA leave. The requirements to be eligible for the leave are surprisingly few. They are:
• An employee must work for a covered employer
• An employee have worked for the employer for a total of 12 months
• An employee must have worked at least 1,250 hours over the previous 12 months
• An employee must work at a location in the United States or in any territory or possession of the United States where at least 50 employees are employed by the employer within 75 miles.
FMLA is an extremely helpful protection for all employees. Those who are not completely familiar with the laws should make an attempt to familiarize themselves with its contents. The Department of Labor provides employees with resources that explain FMLA. A small investment of time learning about the rules could be a lifesaver if the need for leave arises.
About the Author: Lizabeth C. S. Bell has a background in English and library science. Currently, she does research, analysis and writing for EmploymentLaw HQ, a site dedicated to providing employees with free information about their legal rights. Insatiably curious, Lizabeth is interested in pursuing further intellectual challenges and loves sharing new knowledge with others.
Wednesday, July 25th, 2012
Today marks the third year minimum wage workers haven’t seen a raise. While the price of just about everything else has skyrocketed (milk, eggs, health care, college), full-time minimum wage workers are barely making more than $15,000 a year.
The National Employment Law Project (NELP) is encouraging workers, advocates and community members to take action today by rallying to support a minimum wage increase. Events are taking place all over the country, and NELP has an online petition you can sign here.
Here are 10 facts you need to know from NELP about the minimum wage:
How much the federal minimum wage would be if it had kept up with inflation over the past 40 years. Instead, it’s $7.25. Learn more.
The annual income for a full-time employee working the entire year at the federal minimum wage.
The number of states where a minimum wage worker can afford a two-bedroom apartment working a 40-hour week. Learn more.
The number of times Congress passed legislation to increase the minimum wage in the past 30 years.
The number of states (including the District of Columbia) that have raised their minimum wage above the federal level of $7.25.
The number of states that annually increase their state minimum to keep up with the rising cost of living.
The percentage of Americans who support gradually raising the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to at least $10.00 an hour, according to an October 2010 poll.
64 in 100 vs. 4 in 100
What are the chances an adult minimum wage worker is a woman vs. the chances a Fortune 500 CEO is a woman? Learn more.
The percentage of Missouri voters that voted to increase and index the Missouri minimum wage in the 2006 ballot initiative.
The federal minimum wage for tipped employees, such as waiters and waitresses, nail salon workers or parking attendants.
Learn more about the National Day of Action to Raise the Minimum Wage here.
This blog originally appeared in AFL-CIO on July 24, 2012. Reprinted with permission.
About the Author: Jackie Tortora recently joined the AFL-CIO as the blog/social Media editor. Before that, she was a Social Security and Medicare advocate for a national seniors’ organization.
Friday, July 20th, 2012
First-time unemployment claims jumped to 386,000 from last week’s revised total of 352,000, the Department of Labor reports. Last week, first-time claims were initially reported at 350,000, the lowest since March 2008. However, analysts cautioned that the drop was likely a result, at least in part, of auto manufacturers not shutting down as many plants as they usually do at this time of year; seasonal adjustments to the jobless claims numbers were thrown off by that.
The four-week moving average, a measure preferred because it reduces volatility, was 375,500. This is a drop of 1,500 from the previous week’s revised figure of 377,000. Volatility as a result of the auto industry’s summer shutdowns, however reduced they are this year, is expected to continue making it difficult to suggest any trends in the labor market.
For all unemployment benefit programs, including federal emergency extensions, the total number of people claiming benefits for the week ending June 30 was 5,752,116, a decrease of 121,985 from the previous week. This number is dropping in part because people are exhausting their eligibility for weeks of benefits being reduced by Congress and some states.
(The Maddow Blog)
This blog originally appeared in Daily Kos Labor on July 19, 2012. Reprinted with permission.
About the Author: Laura Clawson is labor editor at Daily Kos. She has a PhD in sociology from Princeton University and has taught at Dartmouth College. From 2008 to 2011, she was senior writer at Working America, the community affiliate of the AFL-CIO.
Wednesday, July 18th, 2012
Credit: Joe Kekeris
When you think of minimum wage workers, it’s a good bet firefighters don’t come to mind.
Yet in Scranton, Pa., firefighters are risking their lives rushing into burning buildings, all for $7.25 an hour.
A fight between Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty and the City Council over the city budget has resulted in a pay slash for all 400 city employees—including police officers and firefighters—to the minimum wage.
Firefighter Andy Polansky tells Current.com he and his wife don’t live beyond their means. Their only luxury? Putting their two kids in day care.
With the $7.25 an hour it makes it questionable to put them in day care. Putting them in day care is $70 a day, which means I work 10 hours before I can start paying other bills. We will cut back on everything we can, but we live a fairly simple lifestyle, so there isn’t much to cut from.
Trying to live—indefinitely—on up to 75 percent less pay means using up all your savings to pay bills, says firefighter John Judge, president of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Local 60.
We can’t keep going back to the bank for a loan. When I tell them I make $7.25 an hour, they’re not going to give me a loan.
Doherty and Council President Janet Evans say they’re trying to reach a deal by an Aug. 1 deadline set to get $2.25 million in financial assistance offered by the state’s Department of Community and Economic Development.
Until then, firefighters and other public employees are sinking into debt for doing their jobs.
This blog originally appeared on AFL-CIO Now on July 18, 2012. Reprinted with permission.
About the Author: Tula Connell got her first union card while she worked her way through college as a banquet bartender for the Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee they were represented by a hotel and restaurant local union (the names of the national unions were different then than they are now). With a background in journalism (covering bull roping in Texas and school boards in Virginia) she started working in the labor movement in 1991. Beginning as a writer for SEIU (and OPEIU member), she now blogs under the title of AFL-CIO managing editor.