On Tuesday, the country’s second largest city, Los Angeles, voted to raise its minimum wage from its current wage of $9 an hour to $15 an hour by 2020. This raise will impact over 40% of the city’s workforce, which is currently earning less than $15 an hour. This increase passed with a vote of 14-1 in the City Council and exemplifies the momentum that is being felt around the country along with local efforts to raise the minimum wage. Seattle, Chicago, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, San Diego, San Francisco and Oakland have all had recent minimum wage increases. In addition, there are proposals on the docket in Louisville, Washington, D.C., New York City, Kansas City, Missouri, and Portland, Maine.
As Memorial Day approaches, we are also coming closer to Shavuot, or the Festival of Weeks, when we celebrate the giving of the Torah at Sinai. On Shavuot, it is customary to have sweet dairy foods, like cheesecake and blintzes, in honor of the sweetness of milk and honey, akin to the sweetness of celebrating the knowledge of learning and the Torah.
Yet, there are many children across the country who cannot fully enjoy the sweetness of studying without going hungry. Three out of four public school teachers say that students regularly come to school hungry. Though child nutrition programs like the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs, already exist, these programs need to be strengthened. Breakfast is connected to benefits in the classroom: a majority of teachers see students paying better attention in class and having improved attendance. 48% of educators also note that their teens have fewer disciplinary problems when they eat breakfast.
Over Memorial Day Weekend, Americans will be honoring the lives of those lost in service to their country. This weekend is also known as the celebration of the symbolic beginning of summer (often with barbecues and white pants, sometimes a dangerous combination). And, coinciding with Memorial Day Weekend this year is the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, the Festival of Weeks, when we celebrate the giving of the Torah at Sinai (and cheesecake). Read more…
On Sunday, we celebrated the incredible mothers, aunts, grandmothers, sisters in our lives. . While Mother’s Day is an important moment to show our mothers how much we love and appreciate them, we also know that there are so other ways to do so year round.
We know that we can advocate for a society with equal pay for equal work, where we not only provide domestic violence victims with the best access to care and services, but we work to end violence against women, that gives all workers paid sick days, and where workers are paid a fair wage. Read more…
On Sunday, we celebrated the mothers in our lives, thanking them for their love, support and hard work balancing childcare, family responsibilities and work—both paid and unpaid. Today more than ever, moms have entered the paid labor force to support themselves and their families. A record 40 percent of all households with children under the age of 18 include mothers who are either the sole or primary source of income for the family—nearly double the number from 40 years ago. Women comprise half of the entire paid labor force, and three-quarters of mothers work outside the home. Most families now need two breadwinners to make ends meet. Simply put, women and families rely on women’s earnings.
We know all too well that women on average earn just 78 cents for every dollar their male counterparts make. Did you also know that mothers are paid only 70 cents for every dollar that fathers make? That’s right—mothers who work full time, year round earn on average $40,000 compared to fathers’ $56,999. For comparison, women without children make 90 cents on the male dollar, and single moms make just 60 cents. Read more…
With the budget process moving along, the appropriations process also kicks in. Budget season allows for the president and the two chambers of Congress to lay out their priorities vis-à-vis funding levels for government programs and agencies. The appropriations process is when Congress sets the amounts in real funds, and requires a lot of negotiations and debate. And, the possibility that all the important government programs that need full funding will get it is slim.
The House Appropriations Committee began by taking the sequester-level cap of $1.017 trillion used in the GOP budget (effectively frozen from the current year) and dividing it up among the 12 spending bills. These allocations – known as 302(b)s, and which set funding levels for each of the 12 appropriations subcommittees – were approved last Wednesday.
In response to the U.S. Senate passing a budget yesterday that would cut vital programs for the poor and repeal the Affordable Care Act, RAC Director Rabbi Jonah Pesner issued the following statement: