Unionized women workers continue to have “a substantial boost in pay and benefits” compared to their nonunion counterparts, according to a new issue brief.
The brief by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), Women Workers and Unions, finds that:
Unionized women workers, on average, make 12.9 percent more than their nonunion counterparts, are 36.8% more likely to have employer-provided health insurance and 53.4% more likely to have participated in an employer-sponsored retirement plan.
The study also finds that:
- Being in or represented by a union compares with completing college in terms of wages, especially when tuition costs are factored in. All else equal, being in a union raises a woman’s pay as much as a full year of college does;
- For a women worker with a high school degree, being in or represented by a union raises her likelihood of having health insurance or a retirement plan by more than earning a four-year college degree would;
- Women will be a majority of the union workforce in 2023 if current trends continue.
Nicole Woo, co-author of the study, says:
Considering the great boost to pay and benefits that unions bring, it’s important that anyone who cares about the well-being of women workers also care about unions.
The CEPR report comes 50 years after the release of American Women: Report of the President’s Commission on the Status of Women.” On Tuesday, AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Elizabeth Shuler will take part in a Labor Department symposium, 50 Years Later: Women, Work and the Work Ahead, commemorating the anniversary.
Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW
Tags: aflcio, Health Care, paycheck fairness, unions, women
The next legislative session in New Mexico is coming up in January. Our REEL Working America chapter in Las Vegas, NM started conversations about what they would like to see from our lawmakers in 2014.
Many of the REEL members are part of the film industry and share a common interest to keep jobs coming to New Mexico by having strong tax incentives for film jobs. Having a steady stream of full jobs benefits the film community and the entire state of New Mexico.
At a recent series workshop event, REEL Working America hosted a movie night where we showed Made in New Mexico by Brent Morris. This documentary mapped out the history of film in New Mexico and highlighted the importance of making it a state that welcomes the film industry to its backyard.
In March 2013, Governor Susana Martinez vetoed a strong film incentives bill, known as the “Breaking Bad” bill. She signed a weaker version of the bill into law, but Gov. Martinez’s aversion to helping the NM film industry thrive is a big concern for REEL Working America members.
The members of REEL Las Vegas demonstrated their support by taking part in a photo petition that showing why they care about NM film.
The year is coming to a close. However, the REEL Las Vegas chapter will keep meeting and gathering local and statewide support to stand behind film workers across the state.
Tags: film, New Mexico, reel working america, Susana Martinez
In more than 60 cities across the country today, teachers, parents, allies and education supporters are rallying to save public education from a series of radical “reforms” pushed by corporations and politically motivated organizations that would do significant damage to our schools and limit the future of our students. The Reclaim the Promise of Public Education coalition was formed to fight for public education as our nation’s gateway to democracy and racial and economic justice. As part of the day of action, the AFT is running radio, print and online ads to spread the coalition’s message.
AFT President Randi Weingarten discussed the purpose of the day of action:
Teachers, parents, students and community members are banding together to demand a new direction for public education. In some ways, this Day of Action is years in the making. Parents, students, teachers and community members have been coming together in places like Chicago, Philadelphia and New York to call out what’s not working and create solutions that do. Text-fixation, austerity, privatization, division, competition are not working for our students—as we saw in the PISA results this week. Our schools need evidence-based, community-based solutions like early childhood education, wraparound services, professional autonomy and development, parent voices and project-based learning. That’s what this Day of Action is about. That’s what reclaiming the promise is about. These are our schools and they need our solutions.
AFT started a petition for those who support the goals of the day of action:
We want great neighborhood public schools that are safe and welcoming, are fully funded and have teachers who are well-prepared, are well-supported and have manageable class sizes and time to collaborate. We want our schools to be centers of our communities and ensure that children and families have access to wraparound services to meet their social, emotional and health needs. We want curriculum that focuses on teaching and learning, not testing, and that includes art, music and the sciences. We want to put the public back in public education.
In addition to the petition, supporters can join a Thunderclap for the day of action.
Some events are happening later in the day—find out if there is an event near you.
Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW
Tags: aflcio, Education, public schools, Randi Weingarten, Teachers
Legislators should think twice about joining ALEC, says PA editorial board.
Legislators should only take one loyalty oath, says MO editorial board.
Records reveal State Policy Network think tanks were created by ALEC.
Minnesota pizza place sets its own minimum wage at $10 per hour.
20 things the poor do every day that that the rich never have to worry about.
NYU grad students defeated the Tea Party and liberal hypocrisy to finally organize.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott has gone after workers’ rights, but hasn’t created many jobs.
The Wire creator David Simon’s impromptu speech: “There are now two Americas. My country is a horror show.”
Finally: Another great example of the labor movement standing up for the LGBT community.
Going searching for that perfect holiday gift? Make sure it’s union made in America. Check out this Made in America, union-made gift guide. Here are some highlights from the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor’s resource site, Labor 411. Gifts include those made by members of UNITE HERE, Boilermakers (IBB), Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM), Machinists (IAM), United Steelworkers (USW), Teamsters (IBT), UAW, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union/UFCW (RWDSU/UFCW) and United Farm Workers (UFW).
Apparel and Accessories
Brooks Brothers (UNITE HERE)
Joseph Abboud (UNITE HERE)
Majestic Athletic (UNITE HERE)
Timex watches (IAM)
Naturalizer shoes (UFCW)
Nunn Bush shoes (UFCW)
Red Wing Shoes (UFCW)
Caress skin care (UFCW)
Dove beauty products (UFCW)
Old Spice (UFCW)
(All made by RWDSU/UFCW)
Barrel of Monkeys
Chutes and Ladders
Game of Life
Hi Ho Cherry-O
American Athletic (Russell) (UAW)
Louisville Slugger (UAW and IBT)
MacGregor Golf clubs (Boilermakers [IBB])
Standard Golf (IAM)
Top-Flite golf balls (IBB)
Rayovac batteries (Teamsters and UAW)
Bic Lighters (USW)
Ghirardelli chocolates (BCTGM)
Jelly Belly (BCTGM)
Laffy Taffy (BCTGM)
Tootsie Roll Pops (BCTGM)
Wine and Beer
(Wines brought to you by UFW.)
Chateau Ste. Michelle (IBT)
Gallo of Sonoma
Miller Beer (UAW & IBT)
Miller High Life
Miller Genuine Draft
Anheuser-Busch (IBT & IAM)
Budweiser American Ale
If You’re in the ‘Big Spender’ Category (UAW)
See more cars made by UAW.
Editor’s note: This is not meant to be a comprehensive list of all made in America, union-made products. Some places to find more info on those products include but are not limited to Labor 411, Union Plus, American Rights at Work and the BCTGM website.
Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW
Tags: aflcio, union made, unionmade
A new article from the Guardian reveals that the State Policy Network (SPN) is planning a significant assault on the rights of working families in 2014 state legislative sessions. Through the Searle Freedom Trust, a foundation it created in 2011, SPN plans to offer sizable grants to supposedly independent, non-partisan think tanks in the states. SPN collected 40 grant proposalsfrom these think tanks and will grant funding through Searle to 20 of them. The proposals are for numerous extreme right-wing policy options, very similar to those proposed by groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council, and the think tanks already receive funding from the typical extremist anti-working family funders like the Koch brothers.
While SPN claims tax-exempt status that limits their lobbying efforts and the group says that it and the groups it funds don’t engage in lobbying, those claims don’t quite pass a commonsense examination. As the Guardian notes:
Most of the “think tanks” involved in the proposals gathered by the State Policy Network are constituted as 501(c)(3) charities that are exempt from tax by the Internal Revenue Service. Though the groups are not involved in election campaigns, they are subject to strict restrictions on the amount of lobbying they are allowed to perform. Several of the grant bids contained in the Guardian documents propose the launch of “media campaigns” aimed at changing state laws and policies, or refer to “advancing model legislation” and “candidate briefings,” in ways that arguably cross the line into lobbying.
Depending on which 20 proposals it chooses to fund, here are 12 ways that SPN could assault the rights of working families in 2014:
1. Alabama Policy Institute: Requested $25,725 to fund the “spark plug” for eliminating the state income tax. Such a plan would lead to the cutting of services for working families. (Also requested for tax cuts or elimination: Advance Arkansas Institute, $35,000; Georgia Public Policy Foundation, $40,000; Nebraska’s Platte Institute for Economic Research, $25,000; New Mexico’s Rio Grande Foundation, $30,000; Ohio’s Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions, $40,000; and Opportunity Ohio, $35,000).
2. Delaware’s Caesar Rodney Institute: Requested $36,000 to fund strategies to repeal the state’s prevailing wage law, which would lower wages for working families.
3. Florida’s James Madison Institute: Requested $40,000 to fund efforts to promote vouchers (which they call Education Savings Accounts), which would reduce funding for public schools. Lower public education funding would lead to worsening student performance and teacher layoffs. (Also requested on this topic: Oregon’s Cascade Policy Institute, $40,000.)
4. Georgia Center for Opportunity: Requested $65,000 to fund opposition to Medicaid expansion, which would mean fewer residents have health care. (Also requested on this same topic: North Carolina’s J.W. Pope Civitas Institute, $46,500; Texas Public Policy Foundation, $40,000; Utah’s Sutherland Institute, $50,000.)
5. Illinois Policy Institute: Requested $40,000 to fight to change Chicago’s public employee pension system to a defined-contribution plan, which would mean less retirement security for working families. (Also requested on cutting public employee pensions: Arizona’s Goldwater Institute for Public Policy, $40,000; Minnesota’s Center of the American Experiment, $40,000; Missouri’s Show-Me Institute, $25,000; Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Foundation, $35,500.)
6. Maryland Public Policy Institute: Requested $40,000 to push for cuts in corporate tax rates, which would lead to the cutting of services for working families.
7. Maine Heritage Policy Center: Requested $35,000 to fund a campaign to eliminate state and local income taxes and institute “right to work” for less in one county as a model for future endeavors. If the campaign succeeds, working families will face service cuts and lower wages.
8. Mississippi Center for Public Policy: Requested $30,000 to oppose gas tax increases and privatize the state Department of Transportation, which would lead to weakened services for state residents and lower accountability on transportation issues. (Also requested on privatization: Massachusetts’ Pioneer Institute, $40,000).
9. Common Sense Institute of New Jersey: Requested $50,000 for a campaign to eliminate the compensation of public employees for unused sick leave, which would lower the overall compensation package for employees and encourage public employee absenteeism.
10. Nevada Policy Research Institute: Requested $35,000 to fund a campaign to get union members to leave their unions, which would weaken the collective bargaining rights of working families.
11. Empire Center for New York State Policy: Requested $36,500 to fund efforts to eliminate the estate tax, which would lead to service cuts for working families and shift the tax burden in the state from the wealthy toward working families.
12. Washington Policy Center: Requested $35,000 to launch a campaign to require local governments to have a super-majority to raise taxes, which would cripple local governments and lead to cuts in services for working families.
Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW
Tags: Alabama, ALEC, Corporate Accountability, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maine, maryland, mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, State Policy Network, washington
Something happened this week in Minnesota that hasn’t happened in many other states lately.
Minnesota budget officials announced that the state will have a surplus of about $1.1 billion. By law, the state must pay back $246 million to the public school system and $15 million to the state airports fund, leaving the state with a surplus of roughly $825 million.
This is great news, and it’s vindication of the progressive path taken by Gov. Mark Dayton and DFL lawmakers, who took control of both the House and Senate in 2012 after a disastrous, short-lived shutdown-ridden Republican reign.
But something Gov. Dayton and the legislature failed to do this year was raise the minimum wage — Minnesota’s minimum wage is $6.25, one of the few states where the wage is lower than the federal level.
With the budget announcement, Minnesota AFL-CIO Preisdent Shar Knutson made this announcement:
“Under the leadership of Governor Mark Dayton and the DFL Legislature, Minnesota is now investing in schools and job creation, making taxes fair, and growing the economy. Today’s news shows how honest budgeting, progressive taxes, and targeted investments lead to prosperity.
“Now, it’s time to keep the momentum going. All Minnesotans should be included in our state’s growing economy. There are still hundreds of thousands of working people making poverty wages. Nobody who works full time should have to live in poverty, especially when Minnesota’s economy is growing.
“When lawmakers return to the Capitol in February, they should continue their work and raise Minnesota’s minimum wage to $9.50 per hour, tie future increases to inflation, and preserve the prohibition on the tip penalty.
“Union members, along with our faith, non-profit, and community partners, will continue to have conversations with Minnesotans and lawmakers about raising the minimum wage.”
To get involved with Working America in Minnesota, contact Chase Brandau at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tags: Mark Dayton, minimum wage, Minnesota
A new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) finds that Latino workers are 50% more likely be killed on the job from falls and dangerous and unhealthy working conditions such as exposure to chemicals or being struck and killed by equipment than the overall workforce.
The CDC study also found that young Latino workers (18–24) are 50% more likely to be killed on the job for any reason that the overall workforce. Of the four groups studied—Latino, White, African American and Native American/Asian/Pacific Islander, Latinos were the only ethnic and age group to have a so much greater death on the job rate.
The report examined workplace deaths from 2005 to 2009 and found the overall death rate was 3.7 per 100,000 workers, but for Latino workers it jumped to 4.4 per 100,000 workers.
Looking at specific causes of death, the report found that falls accounted 0.5 deaths for every 100,000 workers, but for Latino workers the rate was 0.9. A recent study by the Center for Popular Democracy found that in New York State Latino and immigrant workers suffered 60% of fatal worksite falls. Read more here.
The CDC study found that deaths because of exposure to dangerous substances such as chemicals or dangerous conditions such as excessive heat were 0.3 overall and 0.5 for Latino workers. The rate for workers killed by being struck or caught by equipment was 0.9 for Latinos and 0.5 overall.
The study concludes:
These findings highlight the importance of preventing work-related deaths. All workers, regardless of their race, ethnicity, or immigrant status, are afforded equal protection under the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Furthering a culture in which occupational safety and health is recognized and valued as a fundamental component of economic growth and prosperity can play an important role in promoting health equity….This information can be used to improve intervention efforts by developing programs that better meet the needs of the increasing diversity of the U.S. workforce.
Click here for the full report.
For more information on Latino worker deaths and injuries, see the 2013 edition of the AFL-CIO report Death on the Job.
Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW
Tags: aflcio, Latino, Rights At Work, safety, workplace safety
The following is a guest post from Working America member Israel Chavez from Albuquerque, New Mexico.
One in five Latinos is paid the minimum wage, and nationally 33 percent of Latinos live in poverty, the second highest racial/ethnic group. This means an increase in the federal minimum wage would directly affect the quality of life for Latinos families across the country and especially in poor states like New Mexico.
Raising the minimum wage to a level that would allow families to adequately provide would alleviate strains these families experience under the current wage.
What we need is a wage that allows people to live decently and is tied to the cost of living.
In Albuquerque, 66 percent of voters supported a raised minimum wage that is indexed to inflation, meaning it will automatically increase as the cost of living goes up. This is often interpreted as an automatic “raise” but that is just false. Indexing wages simply means that as the prices of necessary goods increases, like milk, gasoline, and clothing, minimum wage will be able to keep up.
All too frequently, those who oppose raising the minimum wage have never had support a family on it. It is a matter of dignity and fair pay for work that is performed. Wages are not a handout but hard earned money by deserving people. Policies that allow families to adequately support themselves impacts the whole community positively.
Today, those who would oppose increasing the minimum wage claim that it would devastate the economy, stating that it would increase prices of goods and hurt workers even more. However, studies show that as the value of minimum wage decreases, inflation continues to increase.
All the while, gross domestic product of the United States, with minor exception of the recession, has continued to rise. As the buying power of low wage workers decreases, year after year corporations lobby to keep the minimum wage low in order to continually grow profits on the backs of America’s lowest paid employees.
A lot of people claim it’s only young people that make the minimum wage. Only about 12 percent of minimum wage workers are younger than 20 years old. But claiming only young people make minimum wage just reinforces the argument that Latinos need this increase. In the U.S., Hispanics are younger than the rest of the population, with a median age of 27 years, significantly younger than the rest of the population which is 37 years. In truth, raising the minimum wage will provide a boost to all Latino workers, young and old alike.
The New Mexico House and Senate passed an increase in the minimum wage, but Gov. Susanna Martinez vetoed the bill. In Albuquerque, Mayor Richard Berry and members of the City Council have tried various maneuvers to slow or weaken implementation of the new minimum wage. But Working America is fighting to raise the minimum wage: it’s good for Latino workers, it’s good for small businesses, and above all, it’s the right thing to do.
Photo via @OleNewMexico on Twitter
Tags: Albuquerque, Jobs, Latino, minimum wage, New Mexico
It’s not every day you see a credit card company making a decision that benefits consumers.
Visa, one of the world’s largest credit card companies, has dropped its membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). This decision comes just one year after ALEC awarded its “Private Sector Member of the Year Award” to Paul Russinoff, Visa’s Vice President of State Relations.
What is ALEC? This will help get you started, and here’s all our past ALEC coverage. ALEC is an organization that brings corporations and elected officials together to vote — as equals — on corporate-friendly “model bills.” The model bills are then distributed to various state lawmakers who introduce them in state legislatures. ALEC develops about 1,000 bills a year, and approximately 20 percent become law.
Some of ALEC’s greatest hits: Arizona’s anti-immigration “papers please” law (SB 1070), Wisconsin’s union-busting 2011 budget, multiple so-called “right to work” laws, Pennsylvania and North Carolina’s voter suppression laws, and Florida’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” gun law.
Visa is one of 50 companies to publicly cut ties with ALEC in the last two years. However, a recent expose in The Guardian shows that ALEC has lost closer to 60 corporate members, losing a third of its projected income.
As more and more people find out about ALEC’s record of restricting voting rights, stomping on the rights of workers, creating barriers in the court system, blocking transparency, preempting local democracy, and privatizing our schools, the less desirable it is for both corporations and lawmakers to associate with them.
Photo by @phillipcantor on Twitter
Tags: ALEC, Corporate Accountability, credit cards