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.”

More than 100 arrested: Protesters seeking higher pay for McDonald’s workers swarm fast-food chain’s corporate office near Chicago

“Police on Wednesday arrested more than 100 demonstrators seeking better pay for McDonald’s workers as protesters swarmed the fast-food chain’s corporate campus near Chicago to demand a minimum wage of $15 an hour and the right to unionize. The latest protest against McDonald’s Corp, the world’s biggest restaurant operator by revenue, came a day ahead of a shareholder vote on executive pay, including that of Chief Executive Don Thompson, who earned total compensation of $9.5 million in 2013.

Hundreds of protesters flooded the streets near the McDonald’s corporate headquarters in Oak Brook, Ill on Wednesday (BEV HORNE/AP)

Hundreds of protesters flooded the streets near the McDonald’s corporate headquarters in Oak Brook, Ill on Wednesday (BEV HORNE/AP)

“Frequent rallies by low-wage restaurant and retailer workers have helped fuel a national debate on pay inequality at a time when many middle- to low-income Americans are having trouble making ends meet.”

Read more here

Philadelphia joins roster of cities tackling low wages

“Last week, Mayor Nutter signed an executive order requiring that employees of subcontractors on city contracts must be paid at least the city’s so-called living wage of $10.88 an hour, a floor that will rise to $12 in January. Today, city voters are widely expected to put an exclamation point on Nutter’s move by approving a ballot measure – Question No. 1 – that would establish the living wage for city subcontractors as city law, making it difficult for one of Nutter’s successors in City Hall to easily reverse the pay gains.

Nikishia Watson, of West Philadelphia, waits for her train home after a shift cleaning terminals at Philadelphia International Airport. She earns $8.50 an hour to support herself and her daughter while also taking classes to finish a bachelor's degree. (Matthew Hall / Philly.com Staff Photographer)

Nikishia Watson, of West Philadelphia, waits for her train home after a shift cleaning terminals at Philadelphia International Airport. She earns $8.50 an hour to support herself and her daughter while also taking classes to finish a bachelor’s degree. (Matthew Hall / Philly.com Staff Photographer)

“A “yes” vote would put Philadelphia in the mix of major American cities that are looking for creative ways to boost living standards for low-wage workers, at a time when the U.S. Congress and many statehouses – including GOP-controlled Harrisburg – are balking at a higher minimum wage for all workers. Opponents claim that raising wages would increase unemployment as business owners look to protect their bottom line.”

Read more here

The Minimum Wage Loophole for Waiters and Waitresses

“As it stands, only seven states require employers to pay tipped workers the same minimum wage as nontipped workers. The federal minimum wage for the latter is $7.25, but the federal minimum wage for tipped workers has remained stagnate at $2.13 since 1991, with no adjustment for inflation. Employers are supposed to make up the difference if tipped workers aren’t earning the regular minimum wage through their tips, but it doesn’t always happen. The Economic Policy Institute found in 2011 that tipped workers are more than twice as likely as other workers to fall under the federal poverty line.


“The Minimum Wage Fairness Act, which Obama endorsed, would have gradually raised tipped workers’ minimum wage to 70 percent of the regular minimum wage. But the bill has faced steep opposition from Republicans and the restaurant lobby. According to Open Secrets, the National Restaurant Association, which opposed the minimum-wage hike, spent more than $2.2 million on lobbying last year.”

Read more here

Pay Violations Rampant in Low-Wage Industries

“For workers stuck on the bottom rung, living on poverty wages is hard enough. But many also are victims of wage theft, a catch-all term for payroll abuses that cheat workers of income they are supposedly guaranteed by law. Over the last few years employers ranging from baseball’s San Francisco Giants to Subway franchises to Farmers Insurance have been cited for wage violations. More often, though, wage abuses are not reported by victims or punished by authorities despite being routine in some low-wage industries.


“‘If you steal from your employer, you’re going to be hauled out of the workplace in handcuffs,’ said Kim Bobo, a Chicago workers rights advocate and author. ‘But if your employer steals from you, you’ll be lucky to get your money back.’


“Victims typically are low wage, low-skilled workers desperate to hang on to their jobs. Frequently, they are immigrants—the most vulnerable and least apt to speak up. “They know that if they complain, there’s always someone else out there who is willing to take their job,” said Maria Echaveste, a former labor official during the Clinton administration who is now at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law.”

This story was reported by Myron Levin, Stuart Silverstein and Lilly Fowler, and written by Levin. Read the very comprehensive piece here.

Fast-food worker strike goes global

“Workers from dozens of countries on six continents are joining the push for higher pay and worker rights, it was announced Wednesday at a press conference outside a McDonald’s restaurant in Midtown Manhattan by Fast Food Forward, which represents U.S. fast-food workers.

“The group announced nationwide strike plans for May 15 — a date which mirrors the $15 per hour pay they are demanding. On that same date, workers from dozens of countries on six continents will hold protests at McDonald’s, Burger King and KFC outlets. It is not known how many workers will strike, but thousands of the nation’s estimated 4 million fast-food workers are expected to take part in the one-day strike.”

Read more here. Where will you be eating, or not eating, on May 15?


LA Senate panel kills proposed minimum wage hike

“What was likely the last gasp came in a meeting of the Senate Committee on Labor and Industrial Relations, where state Sen. Ben Nevers asked his colleagues to advance legislation setting minimum wage at $9.50 an hour. Committee members listened, asked a few questions, killed Senate Bill 123 and adjourned for the weekend.

“On the other side of the State Capitol, the House Labor Committee already held the funerals for a slate of bills that sought to tinker with minimum wage. One of the dead proposals would have set a minimum wage of $8.25 beginning on July 1, 2015, and then gradually increased it. Another would have created a $10.10 minimum wage.

“Still in circulation is Senate Bill 46, which would establish a minimum wage of $10 an hour, even higher than Nevers’ proposal. State Sen. Yvonne Dorsey-Colomb, D-Baton Rouge, could have run with the bill Thursday but didn’t. “Maybe some of my colleagues may have a change of heart this weekend,” she said.”

Louisiana remains one of a handful of states in the U.S. without an established minimum wage. Read more of the story here.

Restaurant Industry Pay: Taxpayers’ Double Burden

“New report shows that while restaurant executives are fighting living wages for their workers, they’re also benefiting from tax subsidies for their own pay. Major restaurant chains have come under increasing criticism for paying workers so little that they need to rely on public assistance. What’s less well known is that taxpayers are also subsidizing these corporations’ executive compensation.”


Find the full report here.


Treat wage theft as a criminal offense

Catherine Rampell of the Washington Post explains why “wage theft is an old problem. It can take many forms, including paying less than the minimum hourly wage, working employees off the clock, not paying required overtime rates and shifting hours into the next pay period so that overtime isn’t incurred. Unfortunately, reliable data on the magnitude of the problem are scarce. Workers can be afraid to report the theft for fear of losing their jobs altogether, especially in today’s terrible economy, and many don’t know their rights. Often workers don’t even realize their pay is being skimmed.”

Read more about how employers get away with stealing from their employees here