Mexico, U.S. Sign Agreement Aimed At Educating Migrant Workers About Labor Rights

“The labor secretaries for Mexico and the United States signed a joint declaration Thursday aimed at better informing Mexican workers about their protections under U.S. laws. The agreement arose from longstanding concerns Mexican officials had about its citizens who work in the United States, on employment visas, in the areas of agriculture, forestry, food packing, fairs and carnivals. The agreement calls for conducting educational and outreach efforts targeting the workers about their rights as well as the responsibilities of employers.”

A migrant farm worker from Mexico harvests organic zucchini while working at the Grant Family Farms on September 3, 2010 in Wellington, Colorado. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

A migrant farm worker from Mexico harvests organic zucchini while working at the Grant Family Farms on September 3, 2010 in Wellington, Colorado. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Read more about the joint agreement as reported by the U.S. Department of Labor and Fox News Latino.

Why He Was in Memphis

Today marks the 46th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Memphis. He was in Memphis to support the work of the city’s black sanitation workers, and all workers. His words, and his work, still stands with all of our workers in the pursuit of fairness and a better life.

Martin Luther King Jr. spoke to more than 10,000 people at Mason Temple in Memphis in support of striking sanitation workers

Martin Luther King Jr. spoke to more than 10,000 people at Mason Temple in Memphis in support of striking sanitation workers

Read more about why he was in Memphis here.

After Push by Obama, Minimum-Wage Action Is Moving to the States

 

““Nobody who works full time should be raising a family in poverty,” Mr. Obama said Wednesday as he campaigned for the minimum-wage increase in Michigan, where a coalition of labor and other groups is trying to collect signatures to force action by the Legislature or put the issue to voters in the fall.

“Mr. Obama praised the efforts of the states to raise their own wages. California, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island increased their minimum wages in 2013, while Delaware, West Virginia and the District of Columbia did the same this year, researchers at the National Conference of State Legislatures said. In addition to the efforts in Michigan, advocates in Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Mexico and South Dakota are all trying to push the issue with voters this fall, according to the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center.”

There is also an ongoing effort in Louisiana to enact a minimum wage. Currently Louisiana has no minimum wage.

Read the full NY Times article here.

Cesar Chavez resolution waylaid

“What could have been a simple move in the Senate to honor the late labor activist Cesar Chavez got tangled up in a partisan dispute — over immigration. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) tried Monday evening to get unanimous consent for a resolution honoring the co-founder of what is now the United Farm Workers labor union. But Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) promptly blocked the request.

Conservatives have noted that Chavez favored a tougher stance on immigration. | AP Photo

Conservatives have noted that Chavez favored a tougher stance on immigration. | AP Photo

“The influential farmworkers union [UFW] says it has been a consistent proponent of immigration reform — for instance, Huerta helped write the amnesty provisions of the 1986 immigration law under President Ronald Reagan that helped legalize 1 million farmworkers.

“Monday would have been Chavez’s 87th birthday, and President Barack Obama has designated the day as “Cesar Chavez Day” to be honored with service, community and education programs. Chavez died in 1993 at age 66.”

Read more here.

Nearly 90% of fast-food workers allege wage theft

 

“The vast majority of fast-food workers in the U.S. say they’ve been the victims of wage theft, according to a survey released Tuesday.

“Out of 1,088 respondents nationwide, 89% said they have been forced to do off-the-books work, been denied breaks, been refused overtime pay or been placed in similarly unsavory circumstances.”

Read more about what is being done to address wage theft in Los Angeles here

Fast food workers and activists protest inside a McDonald's restaurant in Oakland. (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images / March 18, 2014)

Fast food workers and activists protest inside a McDonald’s restaurant in Oakland. (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images / March 18, 2014)

Minimum Wage Debate Heats Up

In a preview of the upcoming hearings on the minimum wage proposals in the state House of Representatives, Policy Advocate Erika Zucker appeared on Louisiana Public Broadcasting’s Louisiana: the State We’re In to debate the minimum wage with Renee Amar from LABI. View the discussion here: http://video.lpb.org/viralplayer/2365210445/?chapter=1

The pair have been asked to continue the debate on April 11, after the measures are discussed at the Legislature. Stay tuned.

The Price of Housing in Louisiana

Over a third of Louisiana households rent their residences, and the cost of keeping a roof over their heads contributes to the economic insecurity in the lives of many workers. The latest statistics compiled by the National Low Income Housing Coalition show that more than a quarter of renter households in the state are considered “extremely low income.” In order to afford a two-bedroom apartment, a worker’s family must earn $15.27 per hour — or more than twice the current minimum wage.

http://nlihc.org/sites/default/files/SHP-LA.pdf

The First State To Pass A $10.10 Minimum Wage

“Late Wednesday night, the Connecticut General Assembly passed a bill to raise the state’s minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by 2017, passing 87 to 54 in the House and 21 to 14 in the Senate. Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) says he will sign it into law on Thursday.

“That will not only make Connecticut the state with the highest minimum wage, but will also make it the first to pass a wage at the level currently being pushed by President Obama and Congressional Democrats. It will raise pay for 227,000 workers in the state, about 15 percent of its workforce.”

Read the full story here.

Louisiana and The Minimum Wage

Should Louisiana develop its own minimum wage?

“Louisiana is the third poorest state in the country behind Mississippi and New Mexico. It’s also one of five states that haven’t established their own minimum wage laws. The current federal minimum wage rate is $7.25 an hour. Twenty-one states already have minimum wages above the federal rate and six more states have pending legislation to raise theirs. At least four Louisiana lawmakers will be pushing to enact a state minimum wage this session, with one bill setting the rate at $10.10 per hour. So, should Louisiana develop its own minimum wage? And would such a move help the state’s working poor or ultimately hurt them through increased unemployment? Louisiana Public Square looks for answers on “Louisiana & the Minimum Wage” airing Wednesday, March 26th at 7 p.m. on LPB HD. (Record date, Tuesday, March 25th.)”