The WJP is proud to be working with our union and community partners to help raise the wages for workers at the Convention Center, and we’re glad the Advocate‘s editorial board agrees with us.
Louisiana is one of only three states that does not fund organizations providing civil legal assistance. A recent article on NOLA.com discusses how this makes it even more difficult for our Louisiana’s most vulnerable citizens to get the justice they deserve.
The Department of Labor’s new overtime rule significantly increases the number of people who qualify for time-and-a-half pay for any hours they work beyond 40 in a week.
Here is how the new rule will affect workers in Louisiana:
Share of salaried workforce directly benefiting: 24.5%
Number of people directly benefiting:174,000
Share of total salaried workforce covered under new threshold:40.8%
On August 18, Mayor Mitch Landrieu signed into law a new living wage ordinance for New Orleans’ city contractors and financial assistance recipients.
“If you’re working full-time, you should not be living below the poverty line,” Landrieu said.
The ordinance was sponsored by Councilmember Jared Brossett. It will apply to city contractors with contracts worth at least $25,000 and to companies or organizations that receive more than $100,000 in financial assistance from the city, including subsidies and tax breaks, over a 12-month period. Covered businesses must also provide workers with seven days of paid sick leave annually.
“In his 2015 budget presentation to the New Orleans City Council this month, Mayor Mitch Landrieu introduced a minimum wage hike for city employees that would bring them to the $10.10 figure — which, if approved, will add $596,000 to the proposed $537 million budget. Last month Landrieu signed his name to a letter addressed to Congress supporting passage of the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013, which would set the federal minimum wage at $10.10 an hour.
“But if it’s good enough for New Orleans city employees, why not the rest of us? Unfortunately, no Louisiana city can make that change because Louisiana law forbids municipal governments from setting their own minimum wage. The New Orleans City Council passed a resolution in January urging Gov. Bobby Jindal and state legislators to raise the minimum wage statewide, but it was largely a symbolic act. This year, then-State Rep. Jared Brossett’s bill to make the state minimum wage $10.10 an hour was rejected in committee, as was another proposal to let local governments set alternative minimum wages.
“Any change in the state or local minimum wage, therefore, will have to come at the federal level. A $10.10 minimum wage would mean a pay raise for more than 500,000 workers in Louisiana. The Louisiana Budget Project (LBP) estimates a higher minimum wage would pump $689 million into the state’s sluggish economy by giving workers more spending power. Critics of a higher minimum wage say it would discourage employers and lower employment, while the LBP cites the example of Oregon, which lured eager Idaho workers with a minimum wage of nearly $2 per hour more. Both sides can point to statistics, but it’s worth noting that states with no minimum wage laws, like Louisiana, are some of the poorest in the nation — and the most dependent on federal aid.”
Read more in the Gambit here.
Workplace Justice Project volunteer Karla Rosas writes an Op Ed for The Maroon about what it means to live in a community and truly be a part of it: “When we claim a place as our home, we have to be prepared to actively love and nurture it. When we claim something as part of who we are, we have to acknowledge that any flaws in it are a reflection of our shortcomings as well.” Read the full piece here.
The Stone Center for Latin American Studies at Tulane University provides engaging opportunities for learning about Latin America through the New Orleans community with the semesterly Enlaces Américas Audio Podcast Series. The final series of the spring semester will be aired THIS Friday, May 9th between 8:00 am – 8:30 am on WTUL 91.5 FM or if you are at your computer, you can listen online: http://www.wtulneworleans.com/. This batch of podcasts focuses on New Orleans immigrants highlighting issues of access to healthcare, education, and small business ownership in New Orleans. Check it out Friday morning or later by clicking on the “MEDIA” tab on the Stone Center website where all podcasts are archived: http://stonecenter.tulane.edu/
Jarvis DeBerry hits the nail on the head in describing — and decrying — the hypocrisy of the Louisiana state legislature, as it holds up the Bible as our “official state book” while rejecting repeated efforts to help the state’s poor.
Read the full article here
You can watch WJP Policy Advocate Erika Zucker discuss the Labor Committee hearing on the proposals to establish, and raise, the state’s minimum wage on Louisiana: the State We’re In tonight at 7:00 pm on Louisiana Public Broadcasting or on lpb.org here.
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.)”
“Louisianans of all political stripes strongly favor establishing a state minimum wage of at least $8.50 an hour that would keep pace with the cost of living, according to polling data released as part of a new report from the Louisiana Budget Project.”
Read the rest of this news article by the Louisiana Budget Project.