Tag Archives: Labor

Cities and States Standing Up For Working Families with Paid Sick Days

Over 40 million Americans do not currently have access to paid sick days. We need to take action to ensure that more people do not have to make the difficult choice between going to work and caring for a sick loved one (or themselves), and we have our work cut out for us!

During the State of the Union, President Obama called on states and cities to pass legislation that would allow workers to earn paid sick time, and proposed that Congress give all staff six weeks of leave after the arrival or a new child. He also called on Congress to support Department of Labor funding to help states study and explore how to get their own paid leave programs. States and cities have been following this momentum: five cities across the country currently have paid sick days laws. And, over 2015, paid sick days laws will also go into effect in three more California cities and six more in New Jersey

Momentum to pass paid sick days legislation is building as legislators and advocates are working on active campaigns in 20 states and cities around the country.

In an election last Tuesday, 82% of Chicago voters supported paid sick days in response to a non-binding referendum on the city’s ballot. The referendum asked voters if employers in the Chicago should be required to provide paid sick days to their employees.

Earlier in February, the Philadelphia City Council voted in favor of a paid sick leave measure. Though the Philadelphia City Council has voted in support of this measure three times, this is the first time that the legislation has a real chance of getting passed and signed into law by the city’s mayor.

In addition to this municipal work, there is momentum happening on the state level as well. Nine states – California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Oregon, Washington, and Wisconsin – along with the District of Columbia already allow at least some workers who have paid sick days to use them to care for certain family members. The state of Connecticut has a statewide paid sick days law in effect, and the paid sick day laws in California and Massachusetts will go into effect later this year.

As more cities and states answer the moral call to support their citizens and families with paid sick days, Congress will also be urged to pass similar legislation. Recently, Senator Patty Murray (D-Washington) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) reintroduced the Healthy Families Act (S. 497/H.R. 932). The Healthy Families Act would allow workers in businesses with at least 15 employees to earn up to seven days of job-protected paid sick leave each year. Workers would earn one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked.  People working in a business with fewer than 15 employees would be able to earn up to seven job-protected days of unpaid sick leave annually. Take action and urge your Members of Congress to support the Healthy Families Act today!

We need to speak up for the millions of Americans who do not have paid sick days. We are taught that “one who withholds an employee’s wages is as though he deprived him of his life” (Baba Metzia 112a). Indeed, in the case of paid sick days, a worker’s pay is directly tied to his/her well-being. These values have inspired the URJ to offer paid sick days to its own employees.

Take action and urge your Members of Congress to support the Healthy Families Act today!

Sign reading "no more low wages"

Momentum Builds Toward National Policies for Worker Justice

Walmart, the largest employer in America, announced yesterday that they would raise company wide wages to a minimum of $10 an hour in 2016 for 500,000 workers. This boost can be attributed to many factors: a tightening job market, lower unemployment, higher turnover. However, Walmart’s CEO has been very outspoken about his desire to improve the company’s labor practices. Our Movement has long advocated for equal and fair wages for workers, most recently helping to pass a minimum wage bill in Nebraska in November. To see such a large organization setting the precedent for increasing the minimum wage is encouraging, as it will put pressure on other large employers, such as McDonald’s and Target, to do the same.

At its current rate of $7.25 an hour, the federal minimum wage is worth about 23% less than it was worth in the late 1960s. Minimum wage workers, on average, make a mere $15,080 a year; not enough to live on or to be considered as a living wage. Since workers are not paid enough, workers have to turn to federal safety net programs since they’re paid too little at work to make ends meet on their own.

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The Moral Call to Pass the Healthy Families Act

On Thursday, Senator Patty Murray (WA) and Representative Rosa DeLauro (CT-3), introduced the Healthy Families Act (S. 497/H.R. 932), a bill that would ensure seven paid sick days for all American workers.

The Healthy Families Act would allow workers in businesses with at least 15 employees to earn up to seven days of job-protected paid sick leave each year. Workers would earn one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked.  People working in a business with fewer than 15 employees would be able to earn up to seven job-protected days of unpaid sick leave annually.

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Jewish Disability Awareness Month Logo February 2015

Removing the Stumbling Block of Economic Inequality

It is essential for activists who are passionate about disability rights to understand how many of the inequalities and hardships that people in America face uniquely impact people with disabilities. Twice as many people with disabilities as those without live in poverty and nearly 1 in 3 (or 29 percent of) individuals with disabilities live in poverty. Indeed, 45.3 million Americans lived in poverty in 2013, and individuals with disabilities are disproportionately represented in calculating the number of Americans currently living in poverty.

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Georgia Teens Tell Their Members of Congress to Raise The Wage

At the January 9-12, 2015 L’Taken Social Justice Seminar, Jason Weiner, Joey Chanin, Drew Baker, and Jacob Shippel from Temple Beth Tikvah in Roswell, Georgia spoke to staff from the offices of Georgia Senators Johnny Isakson and Senator David Perdue, and Congressman Tom Price (GA-6) to share why raising the minimum wage is important to them as Jews, as Americans, as Georgians, and as young people. Here are some excerpts from their speech:

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Equal pay protest

The Indignity of Wage Discrimination

Yesterday marked the sixth anniversary of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, a historic bill to help close the gender wage gap that persists in the United States. The very first bill President Obama signed into law, the Ledbetter Act came in response to a Supreme Court ruling in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (2007), in which the Court held that because Lilly did not file her suit within 180 days of her first discriminatory paycheck, she did not have standing to file for wage discrimination. But, Lilly could not have filed her suit at that time because she did not discover she was being paid less than her male counterparts over the course of many years. Read more…

Sign reading "no more low wages"

The Minimum Wage We Ought To Have

Momentum is growing to raise the federal minimum wage.

In his State of the Union address last week, President Obama advocated for policies to support minimum wage workers: he called on Congress to “vote to give millions of the hardest-working people in America a raise.”

President Obama also challenged those who oppose raising the minimum wage to imagine what life would be like on a minimum wage lifestyle: “and to everyone in this Congress who still refuses to raise the minimum wage, I say this: If you truly believe you could work full-time and support a family on less than $15,000 a year, go try it.”

Far too many Americans do not have to imagine what it is like to live a low income lifestyle: it is their reality, day in and day out. At its current rate of $7.25/hour, the federal minimum wage is worth about 23% less than it was worth in the late 1960s. Since workers are not paid enough, workers have to turn to federal safety net programs since they’re paid too little at work to make ends meet on their own.

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Paid sick days

Especially in Flu Season, Paid Sick Days are Critical for Working Families

Now that it is January and the peak of flu season, many Americans will be struggling to stay healthy more than ever. Over 40 million Americans do not currently have access to paid sick days, and we need to take action to ensure that more people do not have to make the difficult choice between going to work and caring for a sick loved one (or themselves).

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