The world watches the US on labor abuse

The Hill reports that “in late February, the Department of Labor awarded $205,977 in back wages and liquidated damages to former student guestworkers at McDonald’s restaurants in Pennsylvania, and to the U.S. workers alongside them.

“The student guestworkers, from Argentina, Malaysia, and other countries, faced sub-minimum wage pay, shifts of up to 25 hours straight, unpaid overtime, and overpriced company housing where eight people were packed into a single basement room. When the workers raised complaints, their employer responded with threats of retaliation and deportation to intimidate them and hide the abuse.”

Read more of the story here.

Low-wage jobs unexpectedly a way of life for many

The Washington Post reports that “occupations that once helped elevate people from the minimum wage into the middle class have disappeared during the past three recessions dating to 1991. For years, many Americans followed a simple career path: Land an entry-level job. Accept a modest wage. Gain skills. Leave eventually for a better-paying job.” 

But “research shows that occupations that once helped elevate people from the minimum wage into the middle class have disappeared during the past three recessions dating to 1991.

“Last year, 17.4 million Americans between ages 25 and 64 earned less than $10.10 an hour, the minimum wage proposed by President Barack Obama (The current federal minimum is $7.25.) That’s equal to an income of nearly $19,000 for a full-time employee — less than half the median pay of a U.S. worker.”

Read more about these trends here.

Louisiana Workers Testify for a Higher Minimum Wage

Will testimonies of everyday Louisiana workers persuade legislature to raise minimum wage? Reporter Kortlynn Johnson interviews Erika Zucker, WJP Policy Advocate, to find out out how Together Louisiana prepares for the 2014 legislative proposal to raise minimum wage.

Minimum Wage Bills – Louisiana Legislature

The Louisiana legislature opens its 2014 session on March 10, 2014. Among the bills pre-filed before the start of the session are 14 bills addressing the minimum wage rate. The bills range from those with local focus (proposals to raise the minimum wage in the cities of Monroe, West Monroe, and/or Ouachita Parish) to bills affecting the minimum wage rate for the entire state. Proposed rates range from the current federal minimum ($7.25/ hour) to $10.00 per hour.

The bills are expected to come before the Labor & Industrial Relations Committees in the House or Senate in the early part if the Session.