Pay Stubs for All

The goal: Paystubs for All Workers.

“Although most workers receive paystubs, as many as 20 million U.S. workers do not receive paystubs that outline how their pay is calculated or what deductions were taken from their wages. 

“There is no federal requirement that employers give workers paystubs. Often, workers who don’t receive paystubs are victims of wage theft, cheated of the pay they legally earned. A Paystubs for All regulation would require employers to provide workers with the information that they are already required to keep and would help deter wage theft. Without paystubs for documentation, workers have difficulty proving wage theft.
 
“Interfaith Worker Justice and many worker advocates around the country are encouraging the U.S. Department of Labor to issue a simple regulation that all workers covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act must receive paystubs.” Read more here about what you can do.  

Amazon Wage Theft Ruling by Supreme Court

“Retail warehouses don’t have to pay workers for the time they spend in security screenings to make sure they’re not stealing, the Supreme Court ruled Tuesday in a unanimous decision that reverses a lower court’s finding that workers must be paid for that time.”

“The decision was a big loss for workers challenging the security checks, which are common among retailers. According to a brief filed by the agency, there have been 13 class-action lawsuits against Amazon and other companies involving more than 400,000 plaintiffs and seeking hundreds of millions of dollars.”

Read more on the case here and here.

Why struggles for criminal justice and living wage are uniting

“Black Lives Matter” doesn’t just refer to cops killing unarmed teens. Here’s why it’s expanding to mean much more. Black poverty is state violence, too. 

“For the second time in a week, the swelling protests against police brutality and an unequal criminal justice system coincided with planned labor strikes at low-wage employers yesterday, and for the second time, protesters joined forces, combining the struggle for a living wage with the struggle for the right to live free of police violence.

Members of Show Me $15 in North St. Louis (Credit: David Nehrt-Flores)

Members of Show Me $15 in North St. Louis (Credit: David Nehrt-Flores)

“Convenience store workers, airport workers, and home care workers joined the actions calling for $15 an hour and a union, broadening the movement still more, but what really gave Thursday its kick was the connection to the emotions (and tactics) of Ferguson activists and their nationwide supporters. Robinson and his fellow workers staged a “die-in” as part of their day of actions, in a North St. Louis convenience store, their bodies stretched between metal racks of chips and candy, clogging the space in an echo both of historic sit-down strikes (that Walmart workers also evoked two weeks back) and a reminder of the way Brown’s body lay in the street for four and a half hours after he was shot.

“Labor struggles have a long, checkered history with struggles for racial justice and particularly against violence. Black workers’ unions were central to the Civil Rights movement… Their struggle—remember the “I Am a Man” signs carried by the workers in Memphis—was always about more than just wages. It was and is about being seen as humans worthy of respect, respect they would demand if it was not freely given.”

Read more from Salon here

 

 

 

It’s Time for a National Retail Workers’ Bill of Rights

 

San Francisco became the first city in the nation Tuesday to demand retail chain stores give at least two weeks’ notice before altering an employee’s work schedule. Under the Retail Workers Bill of Rights, retailers, as well as security and janitorial contractors who are employed by retail stores, must afford greater protections to workers’ schedules.

The bill requires that retail stores offer part-time employees additional hours before hiring new part-time employees, hoping to slow “involuntary part-time employment,” whereby employees are boxed into part-time work even though their employer has more work available. “The involuntary part-time employment rate more than doubled between 2007 and 2012, the Carsey Institute observed in a 2013 labor study. “For women, it rose from 3.6% to 7.8%. For men, the rate increased from 2.4% in 2007 to 5.9% in 2012.”

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Last week, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously backed this “Retail Workers Bill of Rights” which combined several pieces of legislation with an eye toward

* Promoting Full-Time Work and Access to Hours

To encourage full-time employment, employers must offer more hours to existing part-time employees before hiring additional part-time workers.

* Encouraging Fair, Predictable Schedules

To discourage erratic, unpredictable scheduling practices, employers will be required to post schedules at least two weeks in advance. Employees will receive one hour of pay at their regular rate of pay for schedule changes made with less than a week’s notice and two to four hours of pay for schedule changes made with less than 24 hours’ notice.

* Discouraging Abusive On-Call Scheduling Practices

Employers will be required to provide two to four hours of pay to an employee at his/her regular rate of pay when she/he is required to be “on-call” for a specified shift but the employer cancels the shift with less than 24 hours’ notice.

* Equal Treatment for Part-Time Workers

Employers will be prohibited from discriminating against an employee with respect to their starting rate of pay, access to employer-provided paid and unpaid time off, or access to promotion opportunities.

* Encouraging Worker Retention and Job Security

If an employer’s company is bought or sold, the workers must keep on at their jobs for at least a 90-day trial period.

Read more from The Nation and News.Mic.

Where To Shop To Support Workers This Black Friday

About one in four American workers will have to go to work this year on a holiday, be it Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s Day. Given that no American worker gets the guarantee that they can take a paid holiday off, their options are limited. Employees at Kmart and Target even tell ThinkProgress that they aren’t allowed to ask for holidays off and face being fired if they don’t come in.

CREDIT: ADAM PECK/THINKPROGRESS

CREDIT: ADAM PECK/ THINKPROGRESS

But consumers have options about whether or not to support stores that open. While 12 brands have decided to open their doors on Thanksgiving Day, requiring millions of workers to miss out on time with friends and family, 18 others have decided to stay closed. Follow this link to read more from Think Progress.

What’s wrong with Louisiana? Still No Minimum Wage

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 3 out of 4 Americans support a higher minimum wage. Do none of those supporters live in Louisiana? Louisiana isn’t avoiding raising the minimum wage, Louisiana is refusing to set any minimum wage at all. 

After this year’s midterm elections, voters in four states, Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska and South Dakota, passed binding ballot measures that will raise their minimum wages… voters have soundly rejected the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour as insufficient for workers. Soon, 29 states and the District of Columbia will have minimum wages higher than the federal level.

Lagging far behind the rest of the country

Lagging far behind the rest of the country, U.S. DOL

Today a minimum wage earner has to work a day and a half just to pay for a full tank of gas. 

“Do not let any calamity-howling executive with an income of $1,000 a day, who has been turning his employees over to the Government relief rolls in order to preserve his company’s undistributed reserves, tell you – using his stockholders’ money to pay the postage for his personal opinions — tell you that a wage of $11.00 a week is going to have a disastrous effect on all American industry.” (1938, President Franklin D. Roosevelt)

The staff of the Workplace Justice Project ask again: How is it that Louisiana continues on so strongly against this tide without any minimum wage? 

An Ounce of Prevention – Anticipating Changes to Companionship Regulations

“Enforcement of a final rule that takes effect Jan. 1, 2015, to extend Fair Labor Standards Act minimum-wage and overtime protections to certain direct-care workers is to be delayed, but employers should not hesitate to ensure timely compliance with the rule’s minimum-wage, overtime and record-keeping requirements. Effective Jan. 1, home-care agencies and third-party employers must pay at least the federal minimum wage and overtime to jointly or solely employed direct-care workers, such as a certified nursing assistant, home-health aide, personal care aide, caregiver or companion.

JOE RAEDLE / GETTY IMAGES Home care aides often make substantially less than their peers in hospitals and nursing homes

JOE RAEDLE / GETTY IMAGES
Home care aides often make substantially less than their peers in hospitals and nursing homes

“The key change that is applicable to private employers and to states is going to be tracking worker hours and better record-keeping practices,” said Sarah Leberstein, a lawyer with the National Employment Law Project and co-author of its Aug. 2011 “Fair Pay for Home Care Workers: Reforming the U.S. Department of Labor’s Companionship Regulations Under the Fair Labor Standards Act,” report. “It shouldn’t be rocket science. But some employers haven’t had to track hours worked by [home-care] workers,” she said, noting that this is especially true of states that thought of home-care workers as independent providers.

Workers should also be instructed on marking time worked, and employers should consider innovative ways to keep time records, Leberstein said. Under the final rule, “if the employee spends more time working than was anticipated, the employee must be paid,” Joseph K. Mulherin, a shareholder in Vedder Price’s Chicago office who advises employers on employment-law issues, said in a June 13, interview with Katarina E. Wiegele for Bloomberg BNA’s FLSA Litigation Tracker. “If the employee’s sleep time, meal periods or other periods of free time are interrupted, the interruption must be counted as hours worked.”

“In home-care work arrangements, there will undoubtedly be situations where the employee is working without the employer’s knowledge, e.g., because the employer is sleeping,” Mulherin said. “Thus, it is critical that employers require their employees to accurately self-report all actual work hours.”

The Labor Department Home Care web portal has employer resources and a page for workers to download a work calendar or link to a Smartphone app to track hours. For more information on the changes, see the Department of Labor Website: Home Health Care and the Companionship Services Exemption Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)  or the Comparison of Current vs. Proposed Companionship Regulations. Or read more about innovative ideas for complying with the changes at Bloomberg BNA.

WORK IN THE SOUTH CONFERENCE

Save the Date: MARCH 6 – MARCH 7, 2015

“WORK IN THE SOUTH: Dixie Cotton, American Steel, and a Hurricane Named Katrina, the Reinvention of Bondage”

The Workplace Justice Project (WJP), in cooperation with the Gillis Long Poverty Law Center and the Loyola Journal of Public Interest Law (JPIL), is presenting a conference on Low-Wage Workers in the South, March 6-7, 2015 on the campus of Loyola College of Law in uptown New Orleans. Join us to address the challenges faced by low-wage workers in the South, and those who advocate and organize with them.

Keynote speaker Douglas Blackmon, author of Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to WWII, will set the historical context for the conference as to why workers in the South are more vulnerable than workers in other regions. Southern states have lower densities of unionized workers, provide lower (or no) minimum wage standards, and have resisted regulations on employers. It is not coincidental that the most vulnerable workers in the southern states are predominantly African-American or from immigrant communities, nor that, among those low-wage workers who are not people of color, there is less affinity and affiliation by class than by race, a situation exploited by the power structure.

Day one of the conference will look at mapping the current landscape: who are the workers and what factors make them vulnerable, followed by discussions as to solutions to the most significant challenges that keep these workers in low-wage, exploitative conditions. The second day will be a more hands-on look at how to make systemic changes in the region, beginning with a power analysis and looking at multiple strategies for solutions, including litigation, the usefulness of workers’ centers, and the need for policy changes.

REGISTRATION OPENS DECEMBER 1st, 2014

For RFP information go here.

$10.10 for Louisiana is Fair

“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.

Poll-Results

“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