Today is the last day to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)

Here is how repeal of the ACA (Obamacare) will affect Louisiana residents.

The facts: repeal of the ACA would result in a 154% increase in residents without health insurance — 558,000 in La. would lose health insurance.
It would also result in the loss of over 28,000 jobs in the state — 14 of every 1,000 jobs would be lost.
ACA appeal would cost the state of Louisiana $2.2 BILLION in healthcare dollars.

The ACA = Obamacare.
Today (1/31) is the last day to sign up.

State minimum wage increases helped 4.3 million workers, but federal inaction has left many more behind

News from the Economic Policy Institute shows how many workers are receiving a raise with the new year.

On January 1, 19 states increased their minimum wage, lifting the pay of over 4.3 million workers. This is the largest number of states ever to increase their minimum wages without an increase in the federal minimum wage. In seven of these states (Alaska, Florida, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio, and South Dakota), the increases …

Source: State minimum wage increases helped 4.3 million workers, but federal inaction has left many more behind

Good News for Homecare Workers — Supreme Court Declines to Hear Challenge to Overtime Law

On June 27, as its term ended, the Supreme Court of the United States declined to hear the case of Home Care Association of America v. Weil, closing the door on the industry’s and for-profit companies’ last-ditch attempt to prevent home care workers from keeping their newly-won right to the minimum wage and overtime pay. More about the decision is here.

The National Employment Law Project has a good review of the long road to achieving this important victory for some of our lowest-paid, and most vulnerable, workers, most of whom are women of color. Home Care Workers Long March to Justice

Hotel housekeepers make the beds but still can’t afford to lie in them

This week marks the beginning of summer—family reunions, barbeques, and beach vacations— for those who can afford it. Those who can’t include hotel housekeepers, who like many U.S. workers over the past three decades have seen the standard features of a middle-class lifestyle grow even farther out of reach while productivity has more than doubled. …

via Hotel housekeepers make the beds but still can’t afford to lie in them.

The new overtime rule will benefit working people in every state

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%

via The new overtime rule will benefit working people in every state.

John Bel Edwards is Louisiana’s new governor. He promises “no business-as-usual.” Good news for LA’s workers.

This morning, John Bel Edwards was sworn in as Louisiana’s 56th governor. While not minimizing the state’s significant fiscal challenges, Gov. Edwards understands that the state’s economy and prosperity cannot improve without improving the lives of its working families.

“In Louisiana, 1 in 4 school-aged children live in poverty. That’s unacceptable and it MUST change.

It’s unacceptable when a parent’s hard work isn’t enough to pay the bills or go to a doctor. I’ve traveled from Algiers to Zwolle and met countless single mothers working for minimum wage behind a cash register at a gas station. Often, it’s one of several jobs they have, and they still battle to make ends meet. The faces are different, but their struggles are the same.

On top of not paying our workers a living wage, women in Louisiana make an average 66 cents on the dollar compared to men. We are the worst state in the union for pay equity. That is unacceptable. Not just for my daughters, but for all women.”

Pledging that “[w]e must make it possible for all Louisiana citizens to be healthy and prosperous,” Gov. Edwards will seek to expand Medicaid to enable many of the state’s working families access to healthcare under the Affordable Care Act. He also called for an increase in wages and for wage equity in the state.

The full text of Gov. Edwards’ speech may be read here.

Mayor Landrieu Signs Living Wage Ordinance for New Orleans City Contract Workers

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.

Read more here: http://www.theneworleansadvocate.com/news/13205062-123/landrieu-signs-living-wage-ordinance

Helping New Orleans’ Workers Recover Stolen Wages

TakePart’s profile of the workers who came to help rebuild New Orleans 10 years ago and who remain, despite wage theft and discrimination. Their story is very much the heart of the Workplace Justice Project and the Wage Claim Clinic and is still an essential element of the landscape for low-wage workers in New Orleans.

Hector Carnero Mendoza in May 2015, inside a house he was helping to renovate. He says a previous employer owes him $2,000. (Photo Ben Depp)

http://www.takepart.com/feature/2015/08/17/new-orleans-wage-theft-katrina-reconstrutction

The U.S. Once Had Universal Child Care, But Rebuilding It Won’t Be Easy

As reported by NPR, “in urging greatly expanded subsidies during his Tuesday [State of the Union] address, the president referenced a national child care program that was in place during World War II, when his grandmother and other American women were needed in the nation’s factories. The program is not widely known today, but if it seems hard to believe, you can see evidence for yourself on YouTube.”

These days, affordable, quality childcare in the U.S. is hard to find, and yet crucial to the participation of so many parents in the workforce. “This grainy newsreel from Kaiser Shipyards in Richmond, Calif., shows smiling toddlers doing puzzles, painting and listening to a woman play music. All this plus lunch and snacks, for 50 cents a day, or about $7.25 adjusted for inflation… The Works Project Administration first ran the day cares. The idea was to employ teachers and to also watch kids so that their unemployed parents could look for jobs. When women replaced deployed soldiers in the domestic workforce during World War II, the government funded a major expansion.” Read more or listen to the original story from NPR here.

Federal Court Strikes Down Rule on Pay for Home-Health Workers

Late Wednesday afternoon, a federal judge in Washington, D.C., struck down a proposed change to the Fair Labor Standards Act that would have required private and state-managed home health care agencies to pay their employees overtime and minimum wage.

Home health attendants and aides, disproportionately African American, female wage earners—neither nurse nor maid, but a combination of both—have historically been singled out for denial of basic labor rights. The DOL issued a new rule in September of 2013, which would have finally included home-care workers under FLSA coverage. The overall rule was set to take effect on Jan. 1 of this year, but the portion struck down Wednesday was put on hold until Jan. 15 pending the court’s decision.

Maria Fernandez, Bernardo Vega

Home health aide Maria Fernandez, right, helps Bernardo Vega, 88, left, make the bed as she performs household chores for Vega and his wife. Fernandez works for United Home Care Services which provides health care and home care services for elderly and disabled adults. Photograph by Lynne Sladky — AP

 

“The affected workers—often known as personal-care aides, home-health aides or certified nursing assistants—typically bathe, dress and feed elderly or disabled patients. A large percentage of them are hired directly by people with disabilities or their families. Others are employed by private companies that provide services. Workers typically are paid with Medicaid funds administered by states.

“Many home-health workers already are paid more than the federal minimum wage—currently $7.25 an hour—but don’t get paid time-and-a-half when they work more than 40 hours a week. Many also have no health-care coverage themselves.”

Read more from Time, Fortune and the Wall Street Journal