• Advertisement

How Immigration Reform Will Help All Workers

Our ultimate goal should be to help Americans find good paying jobs. Abusing the guest worker program is hurting the millions of Americans who are currently looking for employment.

Every year thousands of people legally enter the United States on temporary work visas.  They use the guest worker program as a way to get their foot in the door, and begin chasing their own version of the American Dream.

Many people, like Senator Orin Hatch, want to see the guest worker program expanded to fill a hole in the US labor market and “meet the demands for workers in the STEM fields.”

Senator Hatch is not alone in his belief. Many business leaders say there is a shortage of workers in these specialized STEM fields.  Why is that?  With the US unemployment rate still above 7%, millions of Americans are out there every day looking for work.  Are we really saying that none of these people have the qualifications to work in these jobs?

No, the problem is that corporations do not care about the workers or their local communities; they only care about one thing, their bottom line.  They are only interested in lowering their labor costs, and they do this by bringing in thousands of immigrant workers.

In a free market two things, supply and demand, determine the value of a product.  The same is true in the labor market. Why else would millions of people take low-wage jobs? Unemployment is high, which means there are plenty of people looking for work. This drives wages down.  If you are not willing to work for the wages offered, chances are there is someone else who will.

This is where the guest worker program comes in to ‘save the day’.  For many years companies have been saying that they do not have enough qualified applicants seeking employment in STEM fields.  Instead of raising the wages they offer, companies began to look outside the US for new workers.  Guest workers flood the market and are willing to work for much less.

Just for the privilege to work in in the United States guest workers are charged outrageous fees by ‘head hunters’.  This has led to numerous instances of worker abuse.   Guest workers become indentured servants, and are treated as such.

Image from REUTERS

Image from REUTERS

In Louisiana, workers in a shrimp processing facility were forced to work 20 hours a day, seven days a week, at minimum wage.  They were not paid overtime, or provided any of the provisions guaranteed to American workers by US labor laws.

Ronil Hira an associate professor of public policy at the Rochester Institute of Technology and the author of Outsourcing America, says the guest worker program (H-1B) is “deeply flawed.”  Hira goes on to say that many companies are hiring guest workers before offering the job to American workers.

This is why we need to pass comprehensive immigration reform.  Unfortunately the current immigration bill that passed the US Senate includes and expansion of the guest worker program.  The good thing is that it also includes stronger regulations on employers who use the guest worker program.

As part of the comprehensive reform package new laws will increase the wages for H-1B workers, and protect American workers with new regulations against the ‘displacement of US workers’.

We need to pass immigration reform to help the 11 million aspiring Americans as well as the millions of unemployed Americans.  We need stronger labor laws to protect against the abuse of the guest worker program, for the betterment of American workers.  Reducing the number of guest workers will decrease the supply of qualified workers, in turn increasing the wages for new and existing workers.

Raising The Minimum Wage, Increases Employment And One City Proved It

Minimum Wage 101Tens of thousands of hard working Granite Staters are currently working and doing their best to survive in minimum wage jobs.  The time has come to raise the minimum wage.

The debate over raising the minimum wage has been raging throughout the United States since the minimum wage was first instituted in 1938.  The debate has not changed in over 70 years. Proponents claim raising the minimum wage will help low-wage workers and will boost the economy because workers will have more spendable income.  The opponents claim that an increase to the minimum wage will cost jobs, therefore hurting the economy, leading to higher unemployment and massive inflation.

Both sides have merit, however the facts continue to prove that an increase to the minimum wage is far more beneficial to workers, employers and the economy.

Many states and large cities have already moved to increase the minimum wage above and beyond the federal minimum of $7.25.   San Francisco was one of the early leaders in pushing up the minimum wage. In fact the city raised their minimum wage in 2004 and indexed it to inflation.  Currently the minimum wage in San Francisco is $10.74, well above the federal minimum, and even more than the proposed $10.10 federal minimum wage increase.

The fact that San Francisco raised the minimum wage almost a decade ago has given us a real life test bed for how it will impact the local economy.  The results were staggering. In San Francisco between 2004-2011, private employment grew by 5.6%.  Neighboring towns also benefited from the increase.  The entire Santa Clara Country saw a 3% increase in private employment.

More importantly employment in the food service industry grew by 17.7%, debunking the myth that raising the minimum wage will cost low-wage workers their jobs.

That is not to say that there were not drawbacks to raising the minimum wage.  There was a minor (2.8%) increase in prices at local fast food restaurants compared to the surrounding areas.  This increase would mean that your $2.00 hamburger now costs $2.06.  This is hardly the massive inflation that some people claim.

The minimum wage increase in San Francisco also benefited low-wage employers.  According to Ken Jacobs, chairman of the US Berkley Labor Center, turnover in low-wage jobs “decreased by 60%”, which saves employers from having to spend additional money to hire and train new workers.

New Hampshire is now at a crossroad, do we increase the minimum wage to benefit our local economy, or do continue to survive in this stagnant economy.  HB 1403 would incrementally raise the minimum wage in NH to $9.00 over the next two years, and then tie it to the Consumer Price Index.

Americans overwhelmingly support raising the minimum wage.  The Quinnipiac University Poll showed that 71% support an increase.  The Washington Post Poll found similar results, 66% support an increase.  The Washington Post Poll went one step further by asking what the minimum wage should be.  The median response was $9.00 per hour.

The New Hampshire Legislature must do what is best for all Granite Staters and the local economy by raise the minimum wage.

New BLS Report Shows Union Members Earn Hundreds More Per Week

Today the Department of Labor released their annual report on union membership in the United States.  For the first time in many years the number of union members held steady at just over 11% of the U.S. workforce.

For many years labor unions have been saying that being a union member has a definite financial advantage, and this report proves it.

The data also show that among full-time wage and salary workers, union members have higher median weekly earnings than nonunion workers,” said Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez.  “The median weekly earnings of union members were $950, compared to $750 for nonunion workers.

Wages union vs non union

The average benefit for being a union member is $200 per week, or just over $10,000 per year.  That is a significant boost to a workers income.

The additional money in their paycheck is not the only benefit to being a union member, as Sec. Perez explains.

Along with higher wages, other data show that union members have greater access to employment-based benefits, such as health insurance, a retirement savings plan, and sick and vacation leave.

The Economic Policy Institute reports:

Unionized workers are more likely than their nonunionized counterparts to receive paid leave, are approximately 18% to 28% more likely to have employer-provided health insurance, and are 23% to 54% more likely to be in employer-provided pension plans.”

Not only are unionized workers more likely to have healthcare, typically they pay less for their coverage.

They (unionized workers) also pay 18% lower health care deductibles and a smaller share of the costs for family coverage.” (EPI Report)

Membership has its benefits.

Sec. Thomas Perez: “Workers’ ability to form unions and engage in collective bargaining has been a cornerstone of a strong middle class. The decline in union membership over the last few decades has contributed to more working families struggling to get by. When workers have a seat at the table, they are better able to bargain for their fair share of the value they helped create; and that leads to greater economic security and economic mobility for everyone.  As our economy continues to recover and we work to create good jobs, we need to ensure workers can lift their voices to raise wages, reduce inequality and help more people climb ladders of opportunity.”

Union membership states

From BLS report

See also Private-Sector Union Membership Grows in 2013 from the AFL-CIO

 

The NLRB Finds Merit In Anti-Union Complaints At Orlando Health

Yesterday it was announced that the NLRB has begun the settlement process stemming from complaints by workers organizing at Orlando Health hospitals.

At the end of 2013 the National Nurses United filed multiple complaints of harassment with the NLRB.

Jennifer Lemmon, Assistant Director of Organizing for National Nurses United explained the charges in an email to the NH Labor News.

The National Labor Relations Board contacted the Union and indicated that the Tampa Regional Office found merit to many of the Union’s allegations that Orlando Health hospitals have been violating federal labor law during the nurses’ Union organizing campaign.  The NLRB informed the Union that the hospitals will be allowed a chance to settle these allegations but that if they don’t, the NLRB’s General Counsel will prosecute the hospitals before a federal administrative law judge, alleging:

•     at Winnie Palmer Hospital : the employer created the impression that employees are under surveillance because of their union activity; interrogated employees about their Union activity;  made threats of unspecified reprisals to employees because of their Union activity;  and  discriminatorily denied access to off-duty nurses to hospital property because of nurses’ Union activity. 

 •     at Dr. Phillips Hospital : interrogated employees about their Union activity;  and  discriminatorily denied access to off-duty nurses to hospital property because of their Union activity. 

•     and at South Seminole Hospital also  discriminatorily denied access to off-duty nurses to hospital property because of their Union activity. 

The NH Labor News reported on these anti-union tactics back in September before charges were officially filed. What Orlando Health did not expect is that by pushing back against the organizing efforts it would solidify the workers and their strengthen their resolve to form a new union.

“We hope the hospitals do the right thing and settle these charges against them and allow nurses their federally protected right to organize a union without their interference,” said Jennifer Lemmon. “But if it comes to a trial and the Judge finds in  favor of the NLRB’s General Counsel, the Judge will make recommended findings to the NLRB’s 5-member Board, who are appointed by the president, and will order the hospitals to refrain from their unlawful actions.”

Organizing efforts began as Orlando Health arbitrarily cut workers pay and laid off hundreds of workers which began taking effect just this week.

“We’ve expressed our concerns many times to OH administration, but it has fallen on deaf ears,” said Sarah Collins, RN, who works in the critical care nursery. “Now Orlando Health wants to worsen the blow with the second round of shift differential cuts. These cuts directly impact patient care. That’s why we’re holding a candle light vigil to mourn the loss of our experienced nurses and the loss of community health.”

In a recent interview with Channel 9 WFTV in Orlando, the spokeswomen for Orlando Health, Kena Lewis, stated: “We haven’t done anything wrong and we’ll see what happens, but we don’t believe we’ve done anything wrong.”

If you have done nothing wrong why are you in resolution discussions with the NLRB?

 

 

New Hampshire AFL-CIO Calls For Minimum Wage Hike As Part Of 2014 Legislative Agenda

CONCORD – AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler joined New Hampshire AFL-CIO President Mark MacKenzie and progressive legislators in laying out the New Hampshire labor movement’s priorities for the 2014 legislative session.

This year, we are calling on our legislature to lift up working families and lift up New Hampshire,” said New Hampshire AFL-CIO President Mark MacKenzie.

“By raising the minimum wage, establishing prevailing wages, paying men and women equal wages, and making sure that temporary workers, construction workers, and those paid by payroll card aren’t cheated out of their pay, we can ensure that every worker in New Hampshire takes home what they have rightfully earned and can support their families on their wages.”

Raising the minimum wage would help small businesses, President MacKenzie stated, citing a poll by the New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute released last year that found that a majority of small business owners, 67 percent, would back an effort to increase the minimum wage above the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour and to adjust it annually for inflation.

The plight of low-wage workers is in the spotlight like never before, Secretary-Treasurer Shuler said in her remarks. After a year marked by nationwide walk-outs at Walmart and strikes by fast food workers, workers in thirteen states saw increases in the minimum wage on January 1st of this year. Worker-based coalitions in eight other states are mounting ballot initiatives or legislative campaigns to raise the minimum wage.

Work in this country should be valued, rewarded, and respected,” said AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler. “It is not a question of whether we can afford to reward hard work – we can’t afford not to. Income inequality is greater today than it’s been since the Great Depression. The rich have never been richer, while the middle class is falling further and further behind. Working people have to do better than that – and we can, starting with a proactive push to raise the minimum wage and pass a working family agenda in Concord.”

The New Hampshire AFL-CIO announced that it will be pursuing the following legislative priorities in 2014:

  • Minimum Wage Increase to $9/hour (HB 1174)Raises the state minimum wage to $8.25 an hour in January 2015; raises the state minimum wage to $9.00 an hour in January 2016 and thereafter raises the minimum wage annually based on increases in the Consumer Price Index.
  • Paycheck Fairness (HB 1188, SB 207)Defines the conditions in which employers may legitimately pay differential wages to men and women who perform equal work; prohibits employers from barring an employee from disclosing information about his or her wages, salary and paid benefits as a condition or employment; prohibits retaliation against an employee who discloses the amount of his or her wages.
  • Temporary Workers Rights (HB 1189)Increases transparency concerning employment conditions and compensation for temporary workers procured for worksite employers through a temporary staffing company; establishes record keeping and reporting requirements for temporary staffing companies; defines allowable fees charged to temporary workers by the staffing company in relation to employment; addresses workers compensation coverage requirements.
  • Personal Credit History Privacy (HB 1405, SB 295)Prohibits employers from requesting a personal credit history check as a condition of employment, with some exceptions for positions that involve substantive responsibility for managing business funds.
  • Payment by Payroll Card (HB 1404)Defines disclosure requirements and employer reporting obligations for payment of wages by payroll card; limits fees that can be charged to an employee for using his or her payroll card account.
  • Social Media Privacy (HB1407)Prohibits employers from requiring access to private social media account or other online communication accounts as a condition of employment. Does not prevent employers from monitoring or requesting access to business accounts.
  • State Prevailing Wage Law (HB 1592)New Hampshire is the only state in the Northeast without a current prevailing wage statute for state-funded public works projects. This bill aims to replace and modernize the NH prevailing wage law repealed in 1985 but limits covered projects to those funded only or substantially by state funds.
  • Certified Payroll Reporting Requirement (HB 1576)Requires contractors on state-funded construction projects to file certified payroll reports that include worker classifications and rates of pay with the government agency responsible for project administration.

What The F&@#: Issa Proposes End To Six Day Delivery To Save Military Retirees COLA’s

Image from the Muskegon Chronicle http://www.mlive.com/news/muskegon/index.ssf/2010/03/no_saturday_mail_delivery_no_p.html

Image from the Muskegon Chronicle

The depth of Congressman Darrell Issa’s distain for the unionized workers at the US Postal Service knows no bounds.  Now he is pitting the USPS against the US Military.

Government Executive reported this morning:

A new bill would undo the recent cuts made to certain military retirees’ pensions, and in exchange allow the U.S. Postal Service to end Saturday mail delivery.

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, on Thursday proposed legislation that would restore full cost-of-living adjustments for young military retirees.”

To recap, the bi-partisan budget deal that everyone was giddy over last month made cuts to Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA) for veterans who retire after twenty years of service, but have not reached the full retirement age of 62.  To put this into context, this would be a person who could be as young as 38 years old, receiving a military pension, who would receive 1% less in a COLA increase than those retiree’s over the age of 62.

I am against cutting benefits to any worker who has done their time and completed their service after the fact.  That is not the case here.  This change means that these working age retirees will not get the full cost of living increase, which does not mean they are going to see their paychecks go down, as some are implying.  Also nowhere does it say that a retired veteran cannot get another job after they leave the military.  Just look at all the government contractors like Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, who routinely hire veterans as military specialists.

You know who else hires a ton of veterans, especially those who have been medically discharged?  The US Postal Service, that is who.  In 2007 the USPS employed over 680,000 people and of that 25% were veterans. (Note 8% of total workforce is listed as disabled veterans).

While that information is great to have, it is not the true point of this post.  The fact that Congressman Issa is, yet again, proposing to cut the Postal Service to five-day delivery is a sham.  He is trying to pull the wool over your eyes, by saying that eliminating Saturday delivery will save the government enough money to offset the retiree’s COLA cuts.

The fact is that the USPS does not take any money from the US Government.  The USPS is a completely self-funded operation, paid in full by the postage on the parcel.  The real issue the USPS is facing is the pre-funding mandate set forth by Congress in 2006.  That mandate requires the USPS to pre-fund all retiree benefits for the next 75 years before 2016.

Congressman Issa and the Postmaster General have used this mandate to make claims that the USPS is going bankrupt.  It is true the USPS cannot afford to pre-pay retiree benefits at 7-times (7X) the normal rate. What corporation could afford that?  They are using this as a way to push the USPS, and its unionized workforce out, and replace it with private companies like UPS and FedEx, who make more money for the 1% on Wall Street.   Let us not forget how UPS and FedEx botched holiday deliveries, while the slow and steady postal service delivered all their packages on time.

This legislation is the biggest shell game I have ever seen.  Instead of just reinstating the cuts to retiree’s, Congressman Issa is suggesting that we steal money from the USPS (which he claims is going bankrupt), and give it to these retiree’s.

If the USPS is failing, as Congressman Issa has said over and over, how exactly is stealing more money from them going to save it?

Rep. Peter DeFazio: "There's no substitute for a universal postal system. The private sector can't fill that gap."  WATCH: http://on.msnbc.com/1dWH1vi  Image from the ED Show

Rep. Peter DeFazio:
There’s no substitute for a universal postal system. The private sector can’t fill that gap.”
WATCH: http://on.msnbc.com/1dWH1vi
Image from the ED Show

The NHLN’s Top Five Priorities For 2014

Image from SantaBanta.com

Image from SantaBanta.com

Today we begin a new year and I thought I would take a few minutes to lay out my priorities for the NH Labor News this year.   As the creator and content editor of the NH Labor News, I get to choose the direction the blog moves in.  This year we are going to be focused on these five things. 1) Raising the Minimum Wage in New Hampshire and throughout the country: The minimum wage is so far behind that people are working full time and still live in poverty.  We need to increase the minimum wage to help give people at the bottom more spendable income, which they will spend in local stores and businesses. Raising the minimum wage will also reduce the amount of money that the government shells out in food assistance programs. Raising the minimum wage will create new jobs and increase our GDP. 2) Passing comprehensive immigration reform and providing a roadmap to citizenship. There is no denying that we need to do something to change our current immigration laws.  Every day over 1,000 immigrants are forcibly deported, tearing apart their families and destroying their lives.  These immigrants are being physically abused and are having their personal property stolen. What about the children, the ‘dreamers’, who were brought illegally as toddlers and have lived in the U.S. their entire lives?  Many of these children do not know they are not American citizens until they try to acquire a driver’s license or some other government ID. We need to do something for the 11 million aspiring Americans, who like my great grandparents, left everything to move to American and chase the American dream.   They deserve the same chances that our grandparents had. 3) Postal Reform: Our goal is to bring awareness to the real reason the USPS is going bankrupt on paper.  The truth is that the pre-funding obligation forced on the USPS is what is making it appear that they are going bankrupt. With Congressional Representatives like Darrel Issa pushing to end Saturday delivery and privatize the entire USPS, we need to fight back.  We cannot let they destroy the great and most beloved division of the US Government. We will continue to bring you news about pending legislation and proposed changes to the USPS. 4) Healthcare: Whether you’re a fan of the Affordable Care Act or not, there is no denying that it has helped millions of Americans get affordable healthcare, many for the first time.  Like many laws, there are flaws, but compared to what we had before it is a step in the right direction with an ultimate goal of having a national single payer system. We will also keep pushing to expand Medicaid.  Low-income families can barely afford to survive and need programs like Medicaid to help keep their families healthy.  Over 50,000 Granite Staters would benefit from an expanded Medicaid, if we could just pass the bill. 5) Pushing for stronger labor laws and creating new American jobs: We need to repeal the Taft-Hartley Act. We need to pass laws that make it easier to organize workers, especially in jobs that are not typically covered by unions (i.e. McDonalds and Wal-Mart). We will continue to fight against the so-called Right To Work (for less) laws that weaken the collective bargaining process and lower wages for all workers. We also need to continue to fight against the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership that will only continue the off shoring of US Jobs.  At the same time we need to keep pushing for laws that increase American manufacturing.  Ensuring that the US Government spends our tax dollars on companies right here at home. We also need to pass a real jobs bill, something that will help rebuild our nations infrastructure while putting millions of people to work. If you follow the NH Labor News then none of these items will be foreign to you.  These are the main items we talk about, and will continue to talk about, until we see the changes we need and want. As long as you keep reading and sharing, we will keep writing and providing ammunition to fight back against the right wing attackers. If you have not already subscribed via email, now is your chance.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

 *   *   *   *   *   *   *

(Not in the top five, but a personal priority for me. I will continue to push for stronger gun laws, and universal background checks on all gun sales. I do not ever want to see children running out of their elementary school again because a man carrying an assault weapon is terrorizing their school.   I do not want to have to write about the sacrifices that six brave educators did in an attempt to protect their children.)

Deportation, Physical Abuse, & Stolen Paperwork; What Will It Take For A Vote On Immigration?

Don't deport my momEveryone is jumping up and down over the fact the House of Representative finally did something!  Yeah, they passed a bill!  The fact is that passing this budget is a big deal for a couple of reasons.

Passing this budget means that we will not be forced into another government shutdown.  The budget funds the government for the next two years.  This also means that Congress will not be jumping from crisis to crisis every three months.

Passing this budget also means that the house can actually put aside their ideologies and pass legislation is a bi-partisan way.  Speaker John Boehner did something nobody expected him to, and chastised the right-wing conservative groups for trying to block this budget.   The question is whether or not Speaker Boehner will continue this rebellion and start to actually pass a few bills in the house.

I know just where Boehner can start, comprehensive immigration reform.  You know the bill that already passed the Senate with strong bi-partisan support, and is just waiting for the House to pass it.  The Speaker has said on multiple occasions that passing immigration reform is a major part of the Republican agenda and it should be done.

Sadly the House of Representative closed up shop for the year. They went back home to their districts without even discussing immigration.  Now we must wait until early January until we see if John Boehner will bring the bill to the floor for a vote.

“Our immigration system desperately needs reform. Our broken system puts significant strain on our communities. It also hurts American workers and legal immigrants, not to mention illegal immigrants, whose families live on the margins of our society,” said Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH).

That means we will have to wait about 25-30 days before the House reconvenes and a vote can be held.  In those 30 days over 30,000 aspiring citizens will be deported.  30,000 families ripped apart.  On average 1,100 aspiring  citizens are deported every day.

To add further insult to these people who are chasing their own version of the American Dream, the Immigration Policy Center reports that immigrants are being mistreated while in US custody.

“Overall, we find that the physical and verbal mistreatment of migrants is not a random, sporadic occurrence but, rather, a systematic practice. One indication of this is that 11% of deportees report some form of physical abuse and 23% report verbal mistreatment while in U.S. custody”. (Emphasis added)

If we put these figures into action that would mean that in the next 30 days while Congress is on vacation and not passing immigration reform, 3,000 immigrants will be physically abused during their deportation.

As if physically abusing immigrants already in custody is not enough, it is now being reported that over “one-third (1/3) of all immigrants taken into US custody had their belonging taken from them and not returned.”  Some items may be trivial, but not all of them. “Among deportees who were carrying Mexican identification cards, 1 out of every 4 had their card taken and not returned. The taking of possessions, particularly identity documents, can have serious consequences and is an expression of how dysfunctional the deportation system is.

The Immigration Policy Center continues:

 Our study finds that migrants processed through Operation Streamline, or held in detention for a week or longer, are most likely to have their possessions taken and not returned.”

How can this be happening?  Just because they are not American citizens does not mean that the US Government can trample their rights.  This is just another reason we need to pass immigration reform.  We must put an end to the daily deportation of these aspiring  Americans.

To bring attention to the need for real immigration reform advocates began a ‘Fast for Families’ on the National Mall.  Many of the faster’s are well known in the ongoing fight for immigration reform, including Eliseo Medina.  The Fast For Families includes bio’s of all of the faster’s, and this is what they said about Eliseo:

Eliseo Medina is described by the Los Angeles Times as “one of the most successful labor organizers in the country” and was named one of the “Top 50 Most Powerful Latino Leaders” in Poder Magazine. Medina served as the International Secretary-Treasurer of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) for 17 years (1996 – 2013)

They began their fast with a declaration.

What is our faith, our words and our history worth if not translated into action, sacrifice and redemption? The world has witnessed the beliefs and teachings of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Cesar Chavez translate in courageous acts of civil disobedience and nonviolent resistance to gain justice for a community of people who were underserved and discriminated against. We now humbly attempt to follow the examples of these great teachers and the teachings of Scripture to align our own hearts with the heart of God, who desires justice for immigrants and immediate justice for the 11 million undocumented immigrant brothers and sisters within our borders. Our faith requires nothing less. Today begins our vow to abstain from sustenance.”

(Read the full Fast for Citizenship: The Moral Obligation to Pass Immigration Reform)

These brave men and women have been fasting for over 35 days now.  They have received visits from many supporters including President and Mrs Obama, Rep John Lewis (D-MS), Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), and many more.  To bring more attention to their fast, members sent multiple letters to Speaker Boehner asking him to bring the bill up for a vote.

After 30 days of surviving on nothing but water, the fasters have handed the torch over to a new group of fasters.  Congressional Representatives and union leaders quickly stepped up to fast for immigration reform. Every day since, members of Congress and immigration advocates have come forward to fast on the National Mall in their place.

How many families will have to be ripped apart by deportation before Speaker John Boehner will bring an immigration bill to the floor of the house?

How many people will be physically abused, and have their property and identification cards stolen from them before Speaker Boehner will bring an immigration bill to the floor?

What does it take to convince the Speaker that we need immigration reform now!

11 Must-Know Facts About The Minimum Wage

Photo: Derek Gee/The Buffalo News/AP

Photo: Derek Gee/The Buffalo News/AP

Most likely you know some things about the minimum wage, however I would like to take three minutes to give you some quick facts about the minimum wage that you may not know.   I will assume that you already know that the current federal minimum wage is $7.25.  Right now there are multiple campaigns pushing for a higher minimum wage, they range from $9.00-$15.00.  The most powerful campaign is Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Rep George Miller’s (D-California) proposal to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 over two years, and then tie it to inflation so it will continue to rise as the cost of living rises.

  1. There are over 3.5 million workers who earn at or below the minimum wage. 1.55 Million earn exactly minimum wage and 1.98 million earn below minimum wage.
  2. Over 75% of all minimum wage workers are over the age of 20 years old! This is completely contrary to the myth that all minimum wage workers are teenagers. Additionally over 49% of all minimum wage workers are over the age of 25.  (Source BLS) Of all minimum wage workers 64% are women.
  3. Idaho has the highest percentage (7.7%) of hourly workers at or below the minimum wage. Idaho edged out Texas (7.5%), Oklahoma (7.2%) and Louisiana (7.1%) for this illustrious title. (Source BLS)
  4. 20.6% of all minimum wage workers are married. The majority (18.3%) of the married minimum wage workers are over the age of 25. (Source BLS) Additionally 27.9% of those effected by raising the minimum wage to $10.10 are parents raise at least one child. (Economic Policy Institute)
  5. A full time minimum wage workers making $7.25 an hour or $15,080 per year. The federal poverty level for a single parent with one child is $15,825. This means that a single parent does not even meet the federal poverty level if they work 40 hours a week in a minimum wage job. (Economic Policy Institute)
  6. Raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour would effect an estimated 30 million of the 70 million hourly workers. Almost 40% of all hourly workers would get a raise if we lift the minimum wage. (Economic Policy Institute)
  7. Raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour would create an estimated 140,000 net new jobs and add $32 billion dollars to the United States GDP. (Economic Policy Institute)
  8. If the minimum wage had been tied to inflation in 1963, it would be almost double the current federal minimum wage. In 1963 the minimum wage was $1.15 per hour, adjusted for inflation that would be $13.00 per hour.
  9. If the minimum wage had kept up with the increase in worker productivity it would exceed $20 per hour. “Since 1968, however, productivity growth has far outpaced the minimum wage. If the minimum wage had continued to move with average productivity after 1968, it would have reached $21.72 per hour in 2012”.  (Center for Economic and Policy Research)
  10.  The federal minimum wage for tipped workers is $2.13 per hour and has not been raised sine 1991. The Harkin/Miller proposal would raise tipped wages by $0.85 cents every year until it reaches 70% of the federal minimum wage.  (Economic Policy Institute)
  11. Increasing the minimum wage does not lead to job losses. This is best explained by a quote from famed economist Paul Krugman: “Now, you might argue that even if the current minimum wage seems low, raising it would cost jobs. But there’s evidence on that question — lots and lots of evidence, because the minimum wage is one of the most studied issues in all of economics. U.S. experience, it turns out, offers many ‘natural experiments’ here, in which one state raises its minimum wage while others do not. And while there are dissenters, as there always are, the great preponderance of the evidence from these natural experiments points to little if any negative effect of minimum wage increases on employment.” Paul Krugman on Feb 2013 (NYTimes)

 

Congressman Darrell Issa Still Wants To Gut The USPS And ‘Applauds’ The Destruction of CANADA POST

Congressman ISSA (photo credit Congressman Issa on Flickr)Congressman Darrell Issa continues to astound informed observers of the Postal Service with his misguided comments. Mr Issa “applauded” Canada Post for planning to” phase out expensive to the door delivery “of mail over five years.  He seemed to have no problem equating the US Postal Service with Canada Post. Not taking into consideration that Canada Post lost over a hundred million dollars this year delivering mail while the US Postal Service had an operational profit of $600 million.

Mr Issa also seemed to neglect to mention the fact that Canada Post was raising rates from 63 cents to 85 cents for letter mail. Imagine his reaction if the USPS wanted to raise rates by over 30%.  Most likely his  Government Oversight Committee would hold special hearings around the clock.

Also this “modernization” enabled Canada to become the first G7 country to eliminate home delivery of mail. Being a public servant you would expect Mr Issa to value service to the public not be “applauding” dramatic regression of services.

Mr Issa gushed “The Canadian Government is supportive of its (Canada Post) decision to modernize.” Modernize?  The US Postal Service is the best Postal Service in the world. There is no disputing that. USPS boasts the lowest rates in the world without a penny of tax payer money while delivering over 40% of the world mail.  US Mail is delivered with reliability and a level of public trust that is the envy of other Postal Services and businesses worldwide.

If Mr Issa  wants to look at Canada and find ways for our country to “Modernize” maybe he should look at their very popular and efficient National Health Care System.

Mr Issa seems absurdly focused at working to decimate the Postal Service. I am hopeful that the over $40,000 he gets from Postal Service rival UPS is not a higher priority than the needs of the millions of people who rely on daily delivery of their mail.

Mr Issa, should be applauding his own countries Postal Service rather than working to decimate it.

 

 

 

  • Subscribe to the NH Labor News via Email

    Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 219 other subscribers

  • Advertisement

  • Advertisement