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National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week 2021

Written by admin on . Posted in Blog

November 13 to November 21 is National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week

The National Coalition for the Homeless has a series of  events that you can participate in to better understand  homelessness in America.  

  1. Sign up to hear a presentation by one of  our trained formerly homeless speakers  either virtually or in the DC area with a vaccinated speaker. Sign up here
  2. NCH will release a series of videos on  our YouTube page beginning on Nov 15 as  part of H & H Week at 9 a.m. in the areas of  housing, income, racial equity, health care,  education, and civil rights. Each video will  be around a half hour and can be used to  guide a class discussion. They will be on  our YouTube channel.  
  3. Your group can collect items and put them in backpacks for a local Coalition to distribute to those without housing. NCH can provide you a good list of essential items needed and will connect you with a local partner to make the exchange in November or December. Contact Brian Davis @ bdavis@nationalhomeless.org.

With the Labor Market Suffering, is it Time for Americans to Unionize?

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By Kelvin Lassister, Income Policy Analyst

With 4.3 million workers electing to leave the workforce in August 2021, employees have taken advantage of the shortage of workers to leverage better pay and benefits. Others have taken advantage of unsafe work conditions to go on strike. The bottom line: the need to form unions is increasing, and becoming more important. 

Billion-dollar corporations like Amazon, and McDonald’s who can afford to pay a livable wage, refuse to listen to their workers. With a failed attempt to unionize their warehouse in Bessemer, AL, Amazon workers at the Staten Island, NY location filed a petition to unionize. Unsafe working conditions, better pay, and paid time off are the reasons for the actions taken against the world’s largest online retailer. 

There are several other companies that low wage workers should consider forming a union as well: Dollar General, and Family Dollar. Both cite not enough staff, and low pay not equivalent to the long work hours. Companies pay potential hires low wages based on their urgency to find employment. People deserve decent wages that allow them to pay for basic living expenses for their families!

According the National Relations Labor Board, companies can select a union with several different methods: 30% of workers must sign a petition, or sign cards, and a majority that vote for a union, the National Relations Labor Board will certify the union as a representative for collective bargaining. 

The American worker now has the chance to capitalize on an opportunity that may not come around again for quite some time. In the days, and times of wage increases for the wealthy, employees must get their fair share, and that begins with Unions and employment stability. 

Living Wage Week 2021

This week (November 15th-21st) is International Living Wage Week! Events are being held worldwide, and United for a Fair Economy is excited to partner with the National Living Wage Network and Living Wage for US to bring this to the United States.

Throughout living wage week, we want to encourage our community to join us in celebrating by lifting up living wages and taking action. We invite you to get involved in a few ways:

  • Sign the pledge to support living wage businesses this week.
  • Shout out your favorite living wage certified businesses on social media with the hashtag #livingwageweek2021
  • See what a living wage is in your community with MIT’s Living Wage Calculator

Are the American People Getting What They Voted For?

Written by admin on . Posted in Blog

by Kelvin Lassiter

As the country emerges from the shutdowns surrounding the pandemic, Americans have become inpatient. Promises made regarding voting rights, paid time off, and tax hikes on the wealthy to pay for much needed infrastructure have not come to pass. 

Now, after several months of negotiations, the president’s original $3.5 trillion-dollar spending measure for the infrastructure bill and the social spending package has now been reduced in price tag to $1.75 trillion dollars (read the text of the Build Back Better bill). Some of the highlights of the bill include:

  • 150 billion in housing investments
  • Extension of the Child Tax Credit for one year
  • 100 billion to reduce immigration backlogs
  • Expansion of health care coverage that will save nine million Americans $600 a year on their premiums

Things left out of the final framework:

  • Paid family leave
  • Clean Electricity Performance Program
  • Ability for the government to negotiate with drug companies for Medicare also won’t be allowed.

While the American people appreciate the efforts for the things that will remain in the bill, it is severely underfunded, and will affect our housing insecure population for generations. The cities of New York and Los Angeles combined need at least 150 billion alone to being their public housing infrastructure up to code. Also, eliminating the ability for the government to negotiate drug prices is damaging. Who wants to make the choice to pay for medicine, or pay to survive without medicine?

In his latest remarks, President Biden reminded the country that this bill is historic, and an investment in the American people. Not everybody got everything they wanted including me, but that’s what compromise, and democracy is. While his remarks are true, the American people counted on lower drug prices, lower housing costs, clean air, and paid family leave to survive. Are the American people getting what they voted for? It remains to be seen, stay tuned.

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