Retail Wages, Scheduling Will Drive 1.4 Million Women Into Poverty By 2022

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A new study by Amy Traub finds that if the unfair wage and scheduling practices continue in the retail industry women workers will slide into poverty and our economy could suffer greatly.

Traub’s study, “Retail’s Choice: How Raising Wages and Improving Schedules for Women in the Retail Industry Would Benefit America” offers a close look at the future of our economy, both if retailers raise the wage and fix scheduling issues, and if they don’t.

“Women bear the brunt of the low-wage trend. In retail—as in other five sectors—a substantial wage gap persists between male and female workers doing the same job,” Traub notes.

Still, women make up half of the workforce so the low wages they receive affects nearly every aspect of the economy.

Currently, the average hourly pay for retail workers is $10.58, a figure that keeps a family of three teetering on the edge of poverty.

Even grimmer is the eight year outlook.

If the present trends continue Traub notes that nearly 1.4 million women working in retail and the nearly 2.5 million family members they help to support will be living in or near poverty in 2022.”

What’s more, if unstable just-in-time scheduling continues, “poverty and public costs will continue to grow.”

However, the benefits of raising the wage and consistent scheduling for women mean a robust economy in the form of less poverty and greater spending.

According to the study, if the largest retailers in the nation raised wages to 25,000 a year, roughly $12.25 an hour, the “GDP would grow an estimated $6.9 to $8.9 billion solely from women’s portion of the raise, or $12.1 to $15.7 billion from both women and men, leading to the creation of 105,000 to 136,000 new jobs.”

The study also reports that by giving female retail workers a raise and implementing fair, stable scheduling 437,000 working women would be lifted out of poverty.

Giving women workers a consistent schedule allows for better budgeting in the home, as well as better opportunities to pull oneself out of poverty, Traub notes.

Currently, 33% of women who work part-time desire full-time work, and additionally only 17% of New York workers had a fixed schedule. Unstable scheduling, Traub notes, means that women workers, a third of whom have a child at home, have trouble bringing in a steady income for their families, finding a second job to fill in the gaps of the first, finding proper childcare or pursuing an education.

“In effect, unstable and unpredictable schedules deprive women in retail of both income and opportunities to rise up,” she notes.

Taking a page out of the McDonald’s protests, on June 6th Walmart Moms head to Wal-Mart headquarters to protest the low wages they’re paid during the company’s shareholders meeting.

The group is asking for $25,000 a year.

Chart courtesy of the study, “Retail’s Choice: How Raising Wages and Improving Schedules for Women in the Retail Industry Would Benefit America

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Equal Pay Day: Bridging the Pay Gap Takes 3 Extra Months of Work

Women have to work more than three extra months to earn what men earn in a year because, on average, they make 77 cents on the dollar compared to men’s earnings. Today, Equal Pay Day, marks the day women workers close the 2013 pay gap.

That 23 cents on the dollar pay gap adds up over time—$11,607 a year for women working full-time is more than $440,000 over a lifetime. Bridging the annual difference would make a huge impact on the lives and families of working women.

A new study by the National Partnership for Women and Families finds that if the gap were eliminated, women who work in California could buy 59 more weeks of food. Ohio’s working women could afford nine more months of mortgage and utilities payments. Working women in Georgia could afford 10 more months of rent. And women employed in Florida could afford 1,900-plus more gallons of gas.

National Partnership for Women and Families President Debra L. Ness says the analysis shows:

When women and their families lose thousands of dollars in critical income each year, they have significantly less money to spend on food, gas, rent and other basic necessities, and the consequences for their families and our state and national economies can be devastating.

AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Elizabeth Shuler said, “The best pay equalizer is union membership, but most workers don’t have that advantage.” That’s why, she said, legislation such as the Paycheck Fairness Act is needed to help close the pay gap.

That bill, which the Senate could vote on today or Wednesday, would close loopholes and strengthen current equal pay laws, including strengthening penalties that courts may impose for equal pay violations and prohibit retaliation against workers who inquire about or disclose information about employers’ wage practices. The bill also would require employers to show pay disparity is truly related to job performance—not gender.

Most Republican members of Congress are opposed to the Paycheck Fairness Act. In 2012, they blocked a vote in the Senate on the legislation. However, in a 2014 nationwide survey, 62% of likely voters said they supported the Paycheck Fairness Act—83% of Democrats, 58% of independents and 44% of Republicans. And the majority of GOP women (51%) support the bill.

Today, President Barack Obama will issue an executive order that will apply some provisions of the Paycheck Fairness Act to federal contractors. Read more here.

Click here for the National Partnership for Women and Families study that breaks down the wage gap by state and examines the even bigger wage gap in 20 states African American women and Latina workers face. Nationally, African American and Latina women are paid just 64 cents and just 54 cents, respectively, for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men.

Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW

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7 Ways Raising the Minimum Wage Will Help Working Women

7 Ways Raising the Minimum Wage Will Help Working Women

Raising the minimum wage would help working women and their families, according to a new White House report. The report also takes a look at how raising the minimum wage for tipped workers, 72% of whom are women, is important in helping working families.

When discussing the issue earlier this month, President Barack Obama said:

Most people who would get a raise if we raise the minimum wage are not teenagers on their first job—their average age is 35. A majority of lower-wage jobs are held by women. These Americans are working full-time, often supporting families, and if the minimum wage had kept pace with our economy’s productivity, they’d already be earning well over $10 an hour today. Instead, it’s stuck at $7.25. Every time Congress refuses to raise it, it loses value because the cost of living goes higher, minimum wage stays the same.

Here are seven ways that raising the minimum wage, including the tipped wage, would help working women:

1. Of the workers who would benefit from raising the minimum wage to $10.10, 55% are women.

2. Workers in tipped occupations, such as restaurant servers, bartenders and hairstylists, are 72% women.

3. One-fourth of all workers who would benefit from increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 have dependent children, including 31% of the female workers who would be affected.

4. Nearly 3 million working single parents would benefit from the increased minimum wage, 80% of whom are women.

5. Research shows that raising the minimum wage reduces child poverty among female-headed households.

6. Research shows that raising the minimum wages helps women work their way out of poverty and into the middle class.

7. The Council of Economic Advisers estimates that raising the wage to $10.10, and indexing it to inflation, would reduce the gender wage gap by 5%.

Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW

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Moms Are Main Breadwinners in 40% of Homes with Kids

Women are the only or primary breadwinners in 40% of households with children younger than 18 and 63% of those homes are headed by single mothers, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center. In 1960, women accounted for just 11% of the main or sole earners in homes with children.

There is a huge wage gap between the single and married mothers, the study found. The median total family income of married mothers who earn more than their husbands was nearly $80,000 in 2011, well above the national median of $57,100 for all families with children, and nearly four times the $23,000 median for families led by single mothers.

If women received equal pay, both married and single women would be quite a bit better off because women get paid just 77 cents for every $1 men get paid. The picture is even worse for women of color. And the numbers haven’t budged in more than a decade.

The Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 84 and H.R. 377) would close loopholes in current equal pay laws that make it easier for employers to discriminate against women by paying them less. The legislation was blocked by a Republican filibuster last year and reintroduced in January. Urge your representatives to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act.

The study does not examine the wage difference between women who hold union jobs and those employed in nonunion workplaces. But in 2012, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics figures, the median weekly paycheck for a woman working in a job with a collective bargaining agreement was $877 vs. $663 for women in nonunion jobs. That union difference cuts across occupations, too.

In addition, unionized workers are 54% more likely to have employer-provided pensions. More than 83% of union workers have jobs that provide health insurance benefits, but only 62% of nonunion workers do.

Read the full Pew Research study, and learn more about what the study means in this PBS interview with Ellen Galinsky, president and co-founder of the Families and Work Institute.

Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW

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New PayWatch Spotlights CEO Pay, Fix the Debt Hypocrisy, Golden Nest Eggs and More

Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW

Did you know that the CEOs of the Campaign to Fix the Debt, the corporate front group that wants to cut Social Security and Medicare and lower corporate taxes, have parked more than $418 billion of untaxed corporate profits overseas? Overall it is estimated that U.S. corporations have as much as $1.9 trillion sheltered overseas. That would make a nice down payment on fixing the debt.

You can read about “Fix the Debt” and more in the 2013 edition of the AFL-CIO’s Executive PayWatch launched today. PayWatch not only shines a light on Fix the Debt hypocrisy, but it also explores the huge wage gap between CEO pay and the average U.S. worker. PayWatch started in 1997.


AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka notes that since 1982, the CEO versus worker pay gap has jumped from 42 times more than the average rank-and-file worker to 2012’s record 354 times greater. In real dollars, a CEO of a Standard and Poor’s 500 Index company averaged $12.3 million a year in total compensation, while the average rank-and-file worker earned $36,654. Says Trumka:

Runaway CEO pay is fueling economic inequality in the U.S. and undermining our shared prosperity. In addition, high levels of CEO pay can encourage excessive risk by CEOs, which hurts the long-term prospects of the companies they run.

PayWatch also unveils several new features this year, including:

As in past years, visitors to PayWatch can compare their pay and benefit package to that of a CEO, search the CEO pay database and take action to rein-in CEO pay.

Here’s a closer look.

Fix the Debt

Behind Fix the Debt are more than 80 of the nation’s most powerful chief executive officers. This group says it wants to lower the deficit by “reforming” Medicare and Medicaid, “strengthening” Social Security and passing “comprehensive and pro-growth tax reform” that “lowers rates.” Translation: cut workers’ retirement security to pay for tax cuts for rich people and corporate America.

The group claims U.S. corporations are overtaxed and that’s why U.S. firms have sheltered as much as $1.9 trillion offshore. It also has estimated that 63 companies whose CEOs are members of Fix the Debt have accumulated $418 billion in overseas cash. Keeping this money overseas deprived the U.S. government of an estimated $134 billion in tax revenue, adding to—rather than cutting—the country’s deficit.

BTW on corporate taxes? Corporate taxes fell from 26.4% of total tax revenue in 1950 to just 7.4% of total tax revenue in 2010. The Washington Post found that in the late 1960s and early 1970s, companies in the Dow Jones Industrial Average routinely paid up to 50% of their worldwide profits in federal taxes. Today, most of these companies pay less than half that rate.

Learn more.

Business Roundtable’s Golden Nest Eggs

The Business Roundtable, which represents more than 100 CEOs of the nation’s blue-chip companies, wants to increase the retirement age for Social Security and Medicare to 70. Under current law, the retirement age for collecting full Social Security benefits will rise to 67 for those born after 1959 from 65, where it’s at presently. The current eligibility age for Medicare is 65. On top of that the group wants to cut Social Security benefits by changing the way cost-of-living increases are calculated—known as chained CPI.

While seniors under the Business Roundtable proposals will work longer, pay more for health care and earn less in retirement, Business Roundtable CEOs are well prepared for retirement. On average, the CEOs on the Business Roundtable’s executive committee have accumulated more than $35 million in pension and deferred compensation benefits. In contrast, 57% of America’s workers have less than $25,000 in savings for their own retirement.

Learn more.

Mutual Funds and CEO Pay

The AFL-CIO’s Mutual Fund Votes Survey examines the votes cast by 78 of the largest mutual fund families on executive compensation at the public companies they are invested in. Mutual funds own more than one-fifth of all shares in U.S. public companies, giving them a great deal of influence in determining executive pay at these companies.

Each fund received a letter grade (A to F) for votes on shareholders’ proposals to reform executive compensation, from pay to golden parachutes and more; on executive compensation plans firms submit for shareholder votes; and say-on-pay votes that are advisory resolutions on executive compensation that are submitted for shareholder approval at company annual meetings.

Five mutual funds received an overall A grade for their executive pay actions, seven flunked every test.

Find out more.

CEO Pay Around the World

Not only do U.S. CEOs make a lot more money than their own employees (354 times more) but they also make far more than CEOs of comparably sized companies in other developed countries. The AFL-CIO Executive PayWatch interactive map lets you click on each country to compare.

Check it out.


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