Category Archives: Labor Laws/Legislation

The Unfinished March: An Overview

Source: Algernon Austin, Economic Policy Institute, June 18, 2013

From the press release:
Fifty years after the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, most of its goals have not been accomplished, a new EPI report finds. In The Unfinished March: An Overview, Algernon Austin, director of EPI’s Program on Race, Ethnicity, and the Economy, explains that while the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom led to legislative victories—including mandating equal access to public accommodations, barring racial discrimination in employment, and protecting blacks’ voting rights—the hard economic tasks of the march remain a distant dream. The remaining goals of the march include the demand for decent housing, adequate and integrated education, full employment, and a national minimum wage that can realistically lift a family out of poverty—all of which are crucial to transforming the life opportunities of African Americans and people of all races and ethnicities. View the report’s infographic, “The Unfinished Business of the 1963 March on Washington.”…

….This paper launches a new Economic Policy Institute project, The Unfinished March, that will review America’s civil rights successes as well as the significant amount of civil rights work that remains to be done and will be followed by a series of nine reports written by some of the nation’s leading experts. Each report will address a specific civil rights goal, the progress that has or has not been made, and, if necessary, the policy measures needed to fully realize the goal. In addition, on Monday, July 22, EPI will host a symposium on the history of the march and the current economic and political challenges facing communities of color….

Click here for full image

50 years of recessionary-level unemployment in black America
Source: Algernon Austin, Economic Policy Institute, Economic snapshot, Race and Ethnicity, June 19, 2013

300 Million Engines of Growth: A Middle-Out Plan for Jobs, Business, and a Growing Economy

Source: Jennifer Erickson and Michael Ettlinger, Center for American Progress, June 2013

From the introduction:
This report lays out a wide-ranging plan for economic progress. It is a plan that encompasses investment and reform. It is a plan that proposes doing more of some things but, importantly, it is a plan to do more things well.

The agenda presented here is based on what we know makes an economy grow and prosper and what we know are the keys to good jobs and a good quality of life, including:
– A well-educated, secure, and growing middle class that underpins strong demand, entrepreneurialism, innovation, and productivity
– Greater private and public investments deployed more strategically
– A fair playing field for business and workers, both domestically and internationally
– Leadership in science and technology
– Effective institutions and governance

…This report describes a set of proposals across a range of areas from education to innovation and infrastructure that are actionable now and would be an important step to putting us on that path. We divide our policies into two categories: those that strengthen the American people and give them the capability to succeed, and those that build an economic and business environment that puts these talents to use and rewards them. The policies described in this report are numerous and range in scope, interacting and accumulating to form a plan that will boost U.S. economic growth and generate the good jobs that underpin widely shared prosperity. We summarize below the key problems we are seeking to address, the approach we take to their solution, and examples of the policies that we propose. The rest of this report offers a more detailed analysis of the problems and the full range of recommended policies….

Chapters include:
Strengthening the American people
Make the United States first in education
Advance primary and secondary education
Advance postsecondary education
Raise workplace standards
Realize the potential of immigration

Strengthening the economic environment

Create the mechanisms for an adaptive national economic strategy
Lead in clean and efficient energy
Promote science and technology research and development
Balance trade
Rebuild our infrastructure
Restore the housing cornerstone
Ensure capital is available for growth
Construct a responsible, pro-growth tax and budget policy

Beyond the Right: Anti-Unionism and Reform

Source: Chad Pearson, LaborOnline blog, June 11, 2013

A clear-eyed assessment of current attacks against organized labor reveal that the “right”—the Republican Party and its electoral, financial, and ideological supporters—is not the exclusive source of labor’s problem. This is certainly the case in the public sector. School teachers throughout the nation, for instance, are currently facing numerous challenges from politicians, and Democrats have been especially problematic….

…We can also point to examples of anti-union activities on the part of “progressive” managers in the private sector. While a number of scholars have deepened our understanding of the high level of exploitation and intimidation experienced by Wal-Mart workers, we do not need to look far to find evidence of worker abuse and union-busting at some of the nation’s more civilized workplaces, including Costco and Whole Foods. Indeed, managers at these companies, including individuals who have strongly endorsed Democratic Party politicians, have repeatedly demonstrated a mastery of the craft of union-avoidance. In 2009, both Costco and Whole Foods lobbied against the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA)…

Better Workplaces, Better Businesses

Source: Better Workplaces, Better Businesses, 2013

Better Workplaces, Better Businesses is a national listing of businesses that support public policies that enable employees to earn paid time away from their jobs in order to address family, medical, and health issues. In states and cities around the country, legislative proposals for earned sick days and family medical leave insurance have been introduced and increasingly adopted. This site brings together, in one place, the businesses from across the country that are supportive of earned leave. While local and state proposals and laws may vary, individual businesses in these locations share the perspective that these public policies are good for their employees, which is also good for business, and good for the economy. The site also features various resources that explain the value of these policies for businesses and the economy.

This website is sponsored by the following business associations:
– American Sustainable Business Council
– Main Street Alliance
– Social Venture Network

The site is supported by the technical assistance of the following national groups:
– The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)
– Family Values @ Work
– The National Partnership for Women & Families

Fix My Job

Source: Working America, 2013

Fed up? Pissed off? Sick of your job? Ready to scream – or quit? We can help. We’ve created, a catalog of the most common problems people face at work, from low pay to forced overtime to unsafe working conditions and many more.

Start by identifying your workplace below, then click “Next.” You’ll be able to let us know what’s getting you down – and check out our solutions for making it right.

50 Years After The Equal Pay Act, Gender Wage Gap Endures

Source: Yuki Noguchi, NPR, Morning Edition, June 10, 2013

On this day 50 years ago, President John F. Kennedy signed the in an effort to abolish wage discrimination based on gender. Half a century later, the Obama administration is pushing Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, designed to make wage differences more transparent.

Some dispute the frequently cited figure that women are paid 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. But even those who argue the gap is narrower agree it’s most prominent when a woman enters her childbearing years….
Equal Pay and the Wage Gap
Source: National Women’s Law Center, 2013

Fifty years after the Equal Pay Act, there’s still a lot to be done
Source: Laura Clawson, Daily Kos, June 10, 2013

The Low-Wage Drag on Our Economy: Wal-Mart’s low wages and their effect on taxpayers and economic growth

Source: Democratic staff of the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workfororce, May 2013

An update to the 2004 report: “Everyday Low Wages: The Hidden Price We All Pay for Wal-Mart”

From the press release:
The price of Wal-Mart’s low wages and benefits at just one Wal-Mart store not only costs families in lost income and economic security, but it also may cost taxpayers about one million dollars in higher usage of public-assistance programs by Wal-Mart employees and their dependents, according to a report released today by the Democratic staff of the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

While up-to-date data on Wal-Mart’s wage and employment practices are not always readily available, new demographic data released by Wisconsin’s Medicaid program provided the needed information to uncover the scope of the taxpayer subsidization of Wal-Mart. The report finds that a single 300-employee Wal-Mart Supercenter in Wisconsin may cost taxpayers anywhere from $904,542 to nearly $1.75 million per year, or about $5,815 per employee. Wisconsin has 100 Wal-Mart stores, 75 that are Wal-Mart Supercenters.

Closing the Wage Gap: How Raising the Minimum Wage Promotes Fair Pay for Women

Source: National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), Fact Sheet, June 2013

From the abstract:
Women working full time, year round typically make only 77 percent of what their male counterparts make – leaving a wage gap of 23 cents on the dollar. One reason for this gap is that women are concentrated in low-wage jobs: two-thirds of minimum wage workers and workers in tipped occupations are women, disproportionately women of color. Raising the minimum wage would help close this gap by increasing wages for workers at the bottom of the spectrum. Raising the minimum wage and the tipped minimum wage are important steps towards fair pay for women – especially women of color.
See also:
Press release

The Business Impact of LGBT-Supportive Workplace Policies

Source: M.V. Lee Badgett, Laura E. Durso, Angeliki Kastanis, Christy Mallory, Williams Institute, May 2013

From the summary:
LGBT-supportive policies are linked to positive business-related outcomes. LGBT-supportive policies are also linked to greater job commitment, improved workplace relationships, increased job satisfaction, and improved health outcomes among LGBT employees. LGBT employees are also less likely to face discrimination in such environments and are more comfortable being open about their sexual orientation.
See also:
Press release