EITC another tool to help low-wage workers

Raising wages may be the most direct way to lift workers out of poverty, but another powerful and effective tool is the Earned Income Tax Credit. Both the federal government and the state of Louisiana have EITC’s which can substantially increase a family’s annual income.

Increasing workers’ pay is a “win-win-win”

“We believe that it will be a win-win-win for our co-workers, our customers and our stores”

Ikea is implementing a new wage system that sets a minimum wage for each store based on the cost of living in that particular area. This structure should insure that workers make a living wage, not just a minimum wage.

 

How feel-good companies are navigating the minimum-wage fray

“Companies that wish to project a progressive image for their brands for being environmentally friendly or supporting organic farming represent an equally important social barometer for pay equity,” says Michael Santoro, professor of business ethics at Rutgers University.

Robert Caplin | Bloomberg | Getty Images Workers fill orders inside a Starbucks in New York, U.S.

Robert Caplin | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Workers fill orders inside a Starbucks in New York, U.S.

 

“Can brands that cater to conscious consumerism extend their value proposition to help workers earn a living wage?” asks Santoro, who wrote about the widening disconnect between Main Street and Wall Street in his book, “Wall Street Values.” He added, “The days of grooving to your iPhone and not caring that a worker manufactured that phone in a substandard factory are over.”

Read more here

Workplace Discrimination Based On Names

Shakespeare once wrote: “What’s in a name?”  Apparently, if you’re a minority in America’s workplaces, a name can mean the difference between the opportunity for success and rejection.

“A study from The University of Chicago Graduate School of Business in the early 2000’s studied the effects of names as a proxy for race or ethnicity on the propensity for individuals to be called in for job interviews. The study— titled “Are Emily and Brendan More Employable than Lakisha and Jamal?”—involved individuals responding to 1,300 ads for sales, customer service, and administrative type positions in the 2001-2002 time frame. The individuals who responded had not just similar, but identical, resumes—except for the name attributed to the resume. Their findings? Resumes with white names resulted in roughly 50% more callbacks than those with African-American names.

“What’s even more intriguing is that higher quality resumes labeled with white names elicited roughly 30% more callbacks than the average resume labeled with a white name, yet high quality resumes labeled with African American names saw no similar increase in callback rate—suggesting that something deeper, and perhaps more sinister, than candidate credentials was at play.”

Read more by Derek Mong here

The Corporate Crusade Against Low-Wage Workers

“Wage theft is just one of a variety of weapons that private-sector businesses have deployed in order to cheat workers and maximize profits. Other tools include public policy instruments like so-called right to work laws that hamper union organizing; threats of deportation to keep unauthorized immigrant workers from asserting their rights; and lobbying to carve out loopholes in new worker-protection laws, among other devices.

Photo: Light Brigading / Flickr

Photo: Light Brigading / Flickr

“For the past few years, in metro regions and states, workers and their communities have galvanized around the problem of wage theft, standing together to sue and win back money that rightfully belongs to the workers who earned it and the local communities where they spend their paychecks. Additionally, low-wage and immigrant workers are seeking relief from abusive and exploitative working conditions by expanding the laws that defend their interests—raising the minimum wage, creating stiffer penalties for wage theft, and instituting paid sick days and other basic workplace protections. Their grassroots organizing—sometimes, but not always, conducted in partnership with unions—has been effective, and a growing number of cities and states are passing these new laws.”

Read more here.

The U.S. cited for Systemic Violations of Workers’ Rights by ITUC Global Rights Index

The International Trade Union Confederation Global Rights Index released on May 19 ranks the U.S. a dismal 4, a sign of “systematic violations”.

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“The ITUC Global Rights Index rates countries from one to five according to 97 indicators, with an overall score placing countries in one to five rankings.

1 – Irregular violations of rights: 18 countries including Denmark and Uruguay
2 – Repeated violations of rights: 26 countries including Japan and Switzerland
3 – Regular violations of rights: 33 countries including Chile and Ghana
4 – Systematic violations of rights: 30 countries including Kenya and the USA
5 – No guarantee of rights: 24 countries including Belarus, Bangladesh and Qatar
5+ – No guarantee of rights due to breakdown of the rule of law: 8 countries including Central African Republic and Somalia.”

Read more about the ITCU rankings or find the full report here

 

Progress vs. status quo. There is still a lot of work to do.

“The 2014 session of the Louisiana Legislature, which ended Monday, did little things, but on the big issues, the three-month session mostly will be remembered for what didn’t happen.”

The Advocate: 2014 Session Draws to a Close

While the city of Seattle makes headlines for adopting a $15 per hour minimum wage, and states around the U.S. raised their wages in the wake of the President’s State of the Union call for a raise in the minimum wage, here in Louisiana, the Legislature turned its backs on the workers most in need of a raise.

At the start of the Legislative session in March, we noted that there were 17 minimum wage-related bills pre-filed in the state House and Senate. None made it out of committee. Despite the efforts of the sponsoring legislators (kudos to Reps. Herbert Dixon, Jared Brossett, and Marcus Hunter and Sen. Ben Nevers for zealous efforts to raise wages in the state), not a single bill got out of committee, and not a single Republican lawmaker voted in favor of any effort to raise the wage. Even efforts to put the matter before the people failed to get a full hearing in the Legislature.

The 2014 Legislative session has been described as particularly lacking in accomplishment. It was especially so for the interests of low wage workers. As one legislative session ends and we look forward to state elections in 2015, one thing is certain, we have a lot of work to do.

40 Years Is Long Enough


Tell the DOL: "No Delay to Fair Pay"After waiting 40 years to be covered by the federal minimum wage and overtime law, home care workers may be forced to wait another 1.5 years—unless you help.

The Department of Labor did the right thing by issuing a rule to cover home care workers, but now there’s an effort to delay its implementation.

Tell the Department of Labor it cannot deny these basic labor protections any longer.

Home care workers provide vital services to elders and people with disabilities, yet earn poverty wages and struggle to sustain their own families on what they earn. They should NOT have to wait a moment longer to receive these basic protections afforded to virtually all other workers in America.

Justice delayed is justice too-long denied.

Tell the DOL: “No Delay to Fair Pay.”