By Dave Johnson
Today, President Obama will give a speech on his plan to grow the economy and the middle class. On Thursday, fast-food workers will strike in 100 cities and stage protests in 100 others to demand $15 an hour and the right to form a union without interference from employers. Here’s something to consider: raising the minimum wage cuts government spending on Food Stamps and other programs.
The Minimum Wage
By Maurice Emsellem
National Employment Law Project
At the National Employment Law Project (NELP), where we advocate for low-wage and unemployed workers, some of our most inspiring moments have come from being involved in campaigns where labor and the community work together for greater economic justice.
By Derek Pugh
A new report from researchers at the University of California at Berkeley estimates that low-wage jobs in the fast-food sector are costing American taxpayers nearly $7 billion every year.
The report—Fast Food, Poverty Wages: The Public Cost of Low-Wage Jobs in the Fast Food Industry—highlights the negative effects low-wage jobs have on the American economy and public. Workers in the fast-food industry are subjected to low pay with no benefits, forcing them to rely on public assistance programs to survive. The median worker is paid a mere $8.69 an hour, with many making at or near the minimum wage, and 87 percent do not receive health insurance through their employer.
By Ali Bay
Legislation that allows California farmers to be prepared to grow industrial hemp upon federal approval has cleared both houses of the legislature. SB 566, authored by Senator Mark Leno, would permit growers in the Golden State to cultivate industrial hemp for the sale of seed, oil and fiber to manufacturers and businesses that currently rely on international imports for raw hemp products. The bill, which is co-authored by Assemblymember Allan Monsoor, R-Costa Mesa, and has received strong bipartisan support in both houses, would go into effect once the federal government lifts its ban on hemp cultivation.
By Terrance Heath
Fast food workers in 60 cities walked off the job on Friday, in the biggest strike ever to hit the $200 billion dollar fast food industry. The strike affected over 1,000 restaurants, and in some cities fast food workers were joined by retail workers from stores like Macy’s, Sears, Walgreen’s, and Victoria’s Secret.
By Mike Hall
The growing movement for a living wage and justice for fast-food and other low-wage workers will reach another milestone next week with a nationwide strike set for Aug. 29.
Following the success and public support of a walkout in eight cities earlier this month, those workers and the community, faith and labor groups that back them are calling on fast-food and low-wage retail workers across the nation to join them in the fight for $15 an hour and the right to form a union without retaliation.
By Rev. Dick Gillett
Something is happening among our low-wage workers in America.
Is the ghost of the Occupy movement stirring?
Probably, but maybe more. In just one astonishing week recently, the Seattle Times—a newspaper not known for being pro-labor—featured worker protests either as the lead story or prominently in the paper:
- On July 23 in the City of SeaTac, in a meeting jammed with workers and faith leaders, the city council reluctantly qualified a Good Jobs Initiative for the November ballot. The initiative would establish the city’s minimum wage at $15 an hour for hotel, restaurant workers and others, including workers at SeaTac airport.
By Mary Kay Henry
Service Employees International Union
If 2012 was the year of the woman, 2013 is the year of the working mom. And that's why I'm headed to California.
Last week, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi along with Reps. DeLauro, Matsui and other women leaders announced a new Women's Economic Agenda, built on three key pillars for driving women's economic advancement: 1) equal pay for equal work, 2) work-family balance, including paid sick leave and a livable minimum wage, and 3) access to quality, affordable child care.
By Claudia Viek
California Association for Micro Enterprise Opportunity
This legislative session, California missed an opportunity to create a Self-Employment Assistance (SEA) program that would have created 5,200 new businesses and 15,000 new jobs - from the ranks of the unemployed. Furthermore, the State missed the opportunity to receive $5.3 million in federal funds committed to run the program.
AB 152, Self-Employment Assistance program (Yamada) would have allowed the unemployed to keep their benefits while starting their own businesses. However, the bill didn’t make it out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee because the Employment Development Division (EDD) estimated that the cost of the program would exceed the $5.3 million available from the federal government.
By Rebecca Band
California Labor Federation
You’ve probably heard it from a colleague, or maybe from a friend or family member:
“Kids these days… they’re just too ambivalent to care about labor unions or workers' rights.”
But as it turns out, that’s just not true. Young people are actually big fans of unions. Fully 61% of young people view labor unions favorably – and that’s more than 10 points higher than the national average, according to a new Pew poll. In fact, young people are the only age group that views unions more favorably than they view corporations.