Happy Labor Day: Here’s Some Stats You Probably Didn’t Know

In honor of labor day, NBC News put together an informative infographic that details the realities for many U.S. workers. Check it out below:

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Hey Middle Class Folks: If You Think Income Inequality Isn’t Costing You, Think Again

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The rampant income inequality in the U.S. costs middle class workers about $18,000 a year.

That’s how much middle class incomes have been reduced by since the surge in inequality from 1979 to 2007, according to a new report from the Economic Policy Institute.

According to ThinkProgress:

“The paper notes that during that time period, income for more than 90 percent of American households grew more slowly than average income growth. That’s because the average was skewed by fast growth at the top: Income growth for households between the top 96th and 99th percentiles grew by more than 78 percent, and the top 1 percent’s income growth was a whopping 245 percent.”

The chart below illustrates what middle class incomes would look like, had the middle class grown at an average rate:

Despite rampant income inequality in the U.S., we’re committed to raising wages and giving workers access to better jobs and a just economy. For more information on out initiatives, please visit: workingamerica.org

Photo courtesy of davitydave via Flickr.

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The Recession’s Still Here? It Sure Feels Like It: Punching In

What recovery?

If you feel like the recession never ended, here’s why.

When public healthcare goes private

In Pennsylvania, Gov. Corbett’s plan to use federal money to offer private healthcare was approved.

Obamacare premiums will decrease

In Arkansas by at least 2 percent. Great news!

What Mitch McConnell Really Thinks: Punching In

And he’s back!

After months of protests from workers and community members, Market Basket president got his job back yesterday.

Fall into the Gap of equal pay

There’s no pay gap here. Clothing retailer the Gap has disclosed that its male and female employees are paid equally.

Oh Mitch

A leaked audio recording of Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell revealed his plans for a Republican controlled Senate, during a Koch-sponsored summit.

Additionally, while discussing raising the minimum wage and extending unemployment insurance for the long-term unemployed McConnell noted that, “These people believe in all the wrong things.”

The Middle Class and Minimum Wage: Punching In

Just how bad is it for the middle class?

Take a look at these two numbers.

Key Quote: “The middle-income American family is worse off, in other words, than it was 14 years ago,” says Neil Irwin.

A meeting of the minds

In Illinois, Gov. Quinn, Mayor Emmanuel and Vice President Joe Biden met with small business owners to discuss the raise the wage initiative.

Apparently there’s a plethora of black and Hispanic workers in Silicon Valley

But most of them receive lower pay and inferior benefits.

Scott Walker, Sam Brownback, Jimmy John’s, and An Explosive Email From A Walmart Manager: Punching In

More proof that he needs to go

6 must-read passages from newly released Scott Walker documents.

What’s so awesome with Kansas?

Kansas’ Gov. Brownback is Exhibit A in what could be the Tea Party Governor Backlash of 2014.

Sub-standard treatment

NLRB rules that Jimmy John’s must rehire workers who protested company’s (lack of) sick leave policy.

“I’ve witnessed so many labor violations I couldn’t even remember them all”

A Walmart manager describes how the company pits middle management against low-income workers.

Avoiding taxes, raising the wage, and who will take the Senate: Punching In

Burger King’s tax inversion scheme

If Burger King buys a Canadian-based doughnut chain, it will benefit from a drastically lower corporate tax rate of 15 percent, compared to the 35 percent rate in the U.S.

A race for the Senate

According to DailyKos’ statistical model, Democrats have a 47 percent chance of holding the Senate.

Alaskans for a higher minimum wage?

In Fairbanks, a group of union members gathered to show support for placing minimum wage on the ballot initiative this fall.

Three Overlooked Reasons For Fair Scheduling That You Haven’t Thought Of, Yet

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Every day, thousands of hard-working people are forced to adhere to inconsistent schedules that result in erratic pay and a chaotic home life.

Last week, The New York Times ran a lengthy article on the sophisticated scheduling software used by employers that create schedules that wreak havoc on employees’ lives.

The article is littered with mentions of the specific ways that employers use the software to keep profits high and labor costs low. A lot of the software, for example, provides managers with information on sales patterns that enable them to cut employee hours.

While scheduling software currently, it seems, impedes on employee work hours, creators maintain that it could be used to create “more accommodating core hours.”

While the article primarily focuses on erratic scheduling’s effect on single mothers’ ability to care for their children (a valid concern), we’ve compiled a few of the less-obvious reasons why fair scheduling needs to happen, now.

  • Because the weather shouldn’t dictate your schedule. Unfortunately many retail jobs, despite being based indoors, offer hours that are dependent on the weather. Back in 2012, The New York Times ran an interesting article that put a spotlight on Jamba Juice’s reliance on the weather for its scheduling practices. The company, at least at the time, would schedule more employees on a nice day and cut hours on a rainy one. Aside from Jamba Juice, there are instances of employers sending workers home due to poor weather conditions as well.
  • Because your schedule shouldn’t prevent you from getting an education. Janette Navarro, a barista a Starbucks, told the New York Times that she was forced to put her college classes “on indefinite pause because her shifting hours left her unable to commit to classes.” One of the biggest drawbacks of a mercurial schedule is that it makes it quite difficult for workers to schedule anything else in their lives.
  • Because you should be able to work a second job, if you need to. Many reports indicate that, increasingly, there’s an overwhelming group of part time workers who want full-time work, so it’s no surprise that workers are finding other jobs to supplement their wages. Much like pursuing an education, erratic scheduling keeps workers stagnant, allowing no room for other steady, part time work.

Despite the prevalence of erratic scheduling in the retail industry, Working America has launched campaigns to push for fair scheduling laws in both Minnesota and Illinois.

For more information, email Brianna Halverson at bhalverson@workingamerica.org

Photo courtesy of Prabowo Restuaji via Flickr.

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If You Doubt That Raising The Minimum Wage Is A Bipartisan Issue, Check Out These Numbers

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For the first time since 2008, voters in Nebraska will vote on a statewide ballot initiative. And luckily, it’s one to raise the minimum wage.

A measure to raise the minimum wage to $9 over two years qualified for Nebraska’s ballot with about 90,000 signatures–9,000 more than needed. For comparison, that’s about 11 percent of Nebraska’a 2012 voting population.

When it comes to smaller states seeing huge responses to chance to raise the minimum wage, Nebraska isn’t alone. South Dakotans turned in 26,000 signatures to get the chance to raise their minimum wage to $8.50. And at the same time Mark Begich and Dan Sullivan go head-to-head in a tight contest for U.S. Senate, Alaskans will vote in November on a measure raising the minimum wage and indexing it to inflation.

If you need proof that raising the minimum wage is an issue that crosses party lines, look at these three states.

In Nebraska’s race for U.S. Senate, Republican Ben Sasse is consistently leading Democrat Dave Domina by 17 to 25 percent. But 55 percent of Nebraskans support raising the wage, according to a poll by Voices for Children.

Over in South Dakota, voters are split between three candidates for U.S. Senate, with Republican Governor Mike Rounds ahead. On raising the wage? SurveyUSA found 60 percent support the minimum wage ballot measure.

And finally, Alaska is the site of what many expect to be one of the year’s closest U.S. Senate races. However–you guessed it!–the minimum wage increase is crushing with 67 percent, according to Public Policy Polling.

Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C., Congress left for August recess with no action on wages. In the Senate, Mitch McConnell lead a knee-jerk filibuster against a bill raising the minimum wage to $10.10, and Speaker Boehner refuses to bring it before the House for a vote.

If Congress continues to be unresponsive to the key economic issue facing working families today, expect more cities and states to take it upon themselves to act. And expect candidates in 2014–mostly Republican, but some Democrats as well–to be in an awkward position while they stick with their default opposition to raising the minimum wage.

Photo by @BetterWagesNE on Twitter

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K&P Carwasheros Ignore Intimidation, Organize Instead

Photo courtesy RWDSU

Despite attempts by both the ownership of the K&P Car Wash and the Association of Car Wash Owners to intimidate them, workers at the K&P Car Wash in New York voted to join the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), an affiliate of the United Food and Commercial Workers. K&P becomes the ninth car wash to unionize since a campaign was launched in 2012.

K&P employee Jose Pedro Calderon said:

We organized ourselves because we want to have a union contract that guarantees us better working conditions. But, most importantly, we organized ourselves because we wanted respect.

As the organizing drive was ongoing, K&P shut down the car wash one afternoon while members of the Association of Car Wash Owners led a captive-audience meeting. Workers report that the meeting was an attempt to make them fearful that the business could be shut down if they joined the union.

RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum said the latest victory in the WASH campaign to organize carwasheros in New York was part of a larger movement:

This is our ninth victory in a row, and we have achieved first contracts in every other organized car wash thus far. Low-wage workers—regardless of immigration status—are coming together and standing up for better working conditions and respect on the job. We are proud of the carwasheros and welcome them to the RWDSU family.

Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW

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