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Posts Tagged ‘Economic Justice’

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

Written by admin on . Posted in Blog

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

Tell your Governor NOT to cancel Unemployment Benefits!

Written by admin on . Posted in Action Alert

Washington, DC – After what many see as a disappointing April jobs report, state officials in at least 11 states are threatening to cancel the additional $300 per week added unemployment benefits passed in the American Rescue Plan. These benefits, paid for solely by the federal government, are set to expire in September 2021. Governors are attacking the generous unemployment compensation and plan to end the additional subsidy in June. Below are the states that might see pandemic unemployment benefits cut before the rest of the country:

StateBenefit End Date
AlabamaJune 19, 2021
ArizonaJuly 10, 2021
ArkansasJune 26, 2021
GeorgiaJune 26, 2021
IdahoJune 19, 2021
IowaJune 12, 2021
MississippiJune 12, 2021
MissouriJune 12, 2021
MontanaJune 27, 2021
North DakotaJune 19, 2021
OhioJune 26, 2021
South CarolinaJune 30, 2021
South DakotaJune 26, 2021
TennesseeJuly 3, 2021
UtahJune 26, 2021
WyomingJune 19, 2021
All other statesSeptember 6, 2021

Background:
The first pandemic economic recovery bills, passed in bipartisan efforts in 2020, supplemented unemployment compensation benefits with additional federal support of first $600 then $300 to stabilize the US economy and avoid a depression. The new Biden administration bolstered this critical unemployment fund in March 2021 with the passage of the American Rescue Plan, which provided $300 a week in from the unemployment compensation fund through September 2021. After what some consider to be a disappointing April jobs report, some legislators and Governors have stepped up to demonize the program, though economists have reported that these concerns about “too generous” benefits are simply not true.

Why you should take action:
The economy IS recovering with help of the American Rescue Plan, and recovery packages passed in 2020. Unemployment benefits, just like basic income programs, infuse money into the local economy. Households use the extra income to pay rent and utilities or to buy food and clothes for their kids. Here are more facts about the April jobs report and unemployment (thanks to our friends at the Economic Policy Institute):

  • Low-wage sectors—where workers are receiving a higher share of their prior income than in other sectors—saw much faster job growth than higher-wage sectors in April. This is exactly the opposite of what you’d expect to see if the $300 per week was keeping people from working.
  • Labor force participation rose rapidly in April, but the gains were all among men—women actually lost ground. Given that women still shoulder the lion’s share of caregiving responsibilities, this points to care needs being the thing holding back labor supply, not unemployment benefits. 
  • The disappointing net job gains in April were not due to a slowdown in hiring—hiring actually rose. The disappointing April job gains were due to a large increase in layoffs and other job separations among women (most often care-givers, especially for kids where schools are not yet open). 
  • Millions of workers still have legitimate health concerns about returning to work. But numbers show that for every 10% increase adults being fully vaccinated is associated with a 1.1 percentage point increase in employment. (Aaron Sojourner, Labor Economist)

Businesses are slowly opening, and will continue to do so after the CDC’s announcement that fully vaccinated people can resume most pre-pandemic activities. It will take time to get the economy back up and running. In the meantime, contact your Governor to say, “Don’t cut off unemployment! It puts needed cash in the pockets of hurting families, and helps stimulate our local economy!”

Extra cash has contributed to the economy rebounding, and taking away the benefits damages the ability for people to pay the rent or provide food. This philosophy will not incentivize Americans to return to work, but instead will further divide this country. Tell your Governor to #SaveUnemployment!

Philosophical differences do not define reality: Guaranteed Income Works!

Written by admin on . Posted in Blog

WASHINGTON, D.C.  – Give a man a fish, he will eat for a day. Teach a man how to fish, and he will eat for a lifetime. Well, you have to give people life, in order to receive the revolution of redemption. Guaranteed Income does just that, give people the chance to dream again. That’s what former mayor of Stockton, CA, Michael Tubbs, had in mind when the Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration (SEED) was launched.

Based on a philosophy from Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr that economic freedom can help eradicate poverty, Stockton, CA, was the first major American city to take measures into their own hands. One hundred twenty-five Stockton residents were randomly selected to receive $500 a month in a two-year pilot program. The cash was completely unconditional, with no strings attached and no work requirements. A report on the project’s results found that:

  • Guaranteed income reduced income volatility, or the month-to-month income fluctuations that households face.
  • Unconditional cash enabled recipients to find full-time employment.
  • Recipients of guaranteed income were healthier, showing less depression and anxiety and enhanced wellbeing.
  • The guaranteed income alleviated financial scarcity creating new opportunities for self-determination, choice, goal-setting, and risk-taking.

More cities in the United States are launching programs because their constituents need it. Guaranteed Income can eliminate debate on raising funds for social services through tax credits, temporary direct payments until the pandemic is over, or raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour. Private funding has deeply influenced this bi-partisan movement. What will it take to influence Congress, maybe mass eviction due to the lingering pandemic economic downturn? The people have the power, and decisions have consequences, so do elections.  Want unhoused people off the streets? Guaranteed Income is a good start.

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