Child poverty is a national crisis that must be addressed. In the United States, there are 14.7 million poor children and 6.5 million extremely poor children. This means that the number of poor children (14.7 million) is greater than the combined populations of Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming. Read more…
When I was young, one of my largest role models was Sandy Koufax, one of the best all-time pitchers in Major League Baseball. I identified with Koufax: like him, I was Jewish, I played baseball, and I was left-handed. Though I never played baseball quite as well as he did, I felt like I could understand some of the struggles he went through—when I was angry about having to skip school for the High Holy Days, I reminded myself of the time when Koufax famously refused to pitch in the World Series because it was Yom Kippur (and his Los Angeles Dodgers still won the World Series anyway). Read more…
As we sit at our Passover Seders, we relive the story of how our ancestors were slaves in the land of Egypt, and how they were freed. Our history of slavery and redemption calls on us to speak up against injustice in our world today, especially when it comes to workers’ rights.
Modern-day slavery continues to be a scourge on humanity worldwide, and it is imperative that we take action to end it. We also should not lose sight of the national policies we can enact to ensure that workers who are employed in the open marketplace are treated with justice. Read more…
On March 27, legally married same-sex couples will be able to take unpaid time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Signed into law 22 years ago, FMLA allows eligible workers to take a maximum 12 weeks unpaid time off of work to care for a new child (including adopted and foster children), care for a sick child, act as a caregiver for a parent, address personal serious health concerns and care for wounded service members. The rule, published last month, revises the definition of spouse to include legally married same-sex couples, regardless of whether the state they live in recognizes their marriage or not. This is an important step forward for LGBT individuals.
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
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.
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.
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.