• Advertisement

“America Out Of Whack” By Arnie Alpert of InZane Times

Writing in the New York Times, Thomas Edsall assembles an impressive array of facts that illuminate the realities of wealth inequality in America.  

Citing Federal Reserve figures, Edsall reports that household net worth, corporate profits, and the value of real estate have been going up at an impressive pace.  If you think that sounds like evidence of recovery you’d be mistaken, at least if you equate “recovery” with economic conditions that are improving for most workers.   

“The September Federal Reserve Bulletin graphically demonstrates how wealth gains since 1989 have gone to the top 3 percent of the income distribution,” he writes.  “The next 7 percent has stayed even, while the bottom 90 percent has experienced a steady decline in its share.”

It’s not just wealthy individuals getting wealthier; it’s also the corporations they own and run.    Citing statistics from Goldman Sachs, Edsall says corporate profits rose five times faster than wages last year.  And he quotes an article from Business Insider that stated,

“America’s companies and company owners — the small group of Americans who own and control America’s corporations — are hogging a record percentage of the country’s wealth for themselves.”

Edsall asks, “Why don’t we have redistributive mechanisms in place to deploy the trillions of dollars in new wealth our economy has created to shore up the standard of living of low- and moderate-income workers, to restore financial stability to Medicare and Social Security, to improve educational resources and to institute broader and more reliable forms of social insurance?”

It’s the right question. 

For answers he turns to a bunch of economists, who provide data about tax rates, labor force participation, the declining growth of well-paying jobs, globalization, and the reduction of labor’s share of profit relative to capital in a time of rising productivity.  

My answer is a bit more straightforward:  America’s companies and company owners — the small group of Americans who own and control America’s corporations — are hogging the political system.  This is nothing new, but in the legal environment created by recent Supreme Court decisions (Citizens United and McCutcheon in particular) it is becoming easier for corporate interests to wage class war and win.  Simply put, the people who make the laws and set the policies have their receptors tuned to the frequency where the corporations are broadcasting. 

Edsall notes survey data that reveal corporations are not so popular in the USA and other so-called “advanced countries.”   He asks if the legitimacy of free market capitalism in America is facing fundamental challenges.

My gut response is to say “I hope so.”  But the dynamics described by all those economists are not the workings of “the invisible hand.”  The market is operating under a set of rules established by those who already have more than their fair share of power, wealth, and privilege.  The legitimacy of our corporate-directed political system that must be challenged as well.

#GUI

Senator Bernie Sanders Speaks AT Strafford County Dem’s Fundraiser

                  BernieSander2 The Strafford County Democratic Committee proudly announces

 Senator Bernie Sanders

Special guest for our Fall Celebration
September 27~5-7 PM

 American Legion Hall,
Foundry Street,
Rollinsford, NH.

Hearty hors d’oeuvres~cash bar,
and a chance to meet and talk with our Democratic candidates

$50. is the special price for State Rep candidates and the rest of the sponsorships are $100. The tickets are $25.

All of the money we raise will go to Strafford County Democratic candidate services and Voter’s Voice.

Live music is by Chaz Proulx. Senator Sanders will be available for questions and photos.

The title of Senator Sander’s talk is  “The Fight for Economic Justice.”

https://secure.actblue.com/contribute/page/straffordcounty2014dinner

http://www.straffordcountydemocrats.org/events-2/fall-celebration-with-senator-bernie-sanders/

Here is an address in case you want to send a check.

STRAFFORD COUNTY DEMOCRATIC COMMITTEE
PO Box 247
Dover, NH 03820

Email: SCDC@StraffordCountyDemocrats.org

Web: http://www.straffordcountydemocrats.org

Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster Speaks Out in Support of FairPoint Workers

Ann kuster head shot LGUnion Leaders Welcome State and Federal Legislators’ Interventions

Manchester, NH–On September 19th, Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster of New Hampshire’s 2nd Congressional District issued a statement urging FairPoint and the unions representing nearly 2,000 FairPoint employees in New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont to return to the bargaining table.

Congresswoman Kuster said that she has been in contact with FairPoint workers and management over several months. According to her statement, “we can all agree that workers, employers, and our entire economy benefit from continued, productive dialogue between management and labor. I am therefore disappointed that negotiations have been suspended, and I urge all parties to come together to negotiate a new contract in good faith.”

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and the Communications Workers of America (CWA) have filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) accusing the company of bargaining in bad faith and illegally imposing terms and conditions on employees when the parties were not at impasse. The NLRB is currently investigating those charges and should decide within weeks whether or not to file a formal complaint against the company.

Several state senators have come out in support of FairPoint workers in recent weeks. In a September 22nd statement, Senator David Watters of District 4 expressed disappointment that FairPoint has walked away from bargaining. He said, “FairPoint has faced serious challenges in the past few years, but the ideal of corporate citizenship and a willingness to bargain with its employees must continue to guide its commitment to New Hampshire. Negotiations, flexibility, and respect for both sides in labor contracts are the New Hampshire way.”

Senator David Pierce of District 5 said, “There are many New Hampshire businesses that have shown that a company can prosper when it treats its workers as its best asset. FairPoint knows this. FairPoint should therefore strive to put its workers and the state of New Hampshire ahead of the big Wall Street hedge funds that own the company.”

In a statement earlier this month, Senator Lou D’Allesandro of District 20 said, “The people of New Hampshire need the best trained employees to maintain our vital telecommunications infrastructure, and that means union workers, not outside, temporary contractors.” Senator Jeff Woodburn of Coos County said, “The North Country and I are proud to stand with New Hampshire’s telephone workers at IBEW Local 2320. Their work is especially important to our region, [which] remains under-served by telecom infrastructure. It’s a shame that FairPoint has walked away from the negotiating table, putting New Hampshire’s network at risk. I call on FairPoint management to come back to the table and work to find a meaningful compromise.”

Union leaders welcomed the public statements of support. “We are really gratified that our elected leaders in Washington and Concord have added their voices to those of FairPoint employees and customers,” said Glenn Brackett, Business Manager of IBEW Local 2320. “It just demonstrates the importance of this fight for fairness to the citizens of our state who depend on the highly skilled employees of FairPoint to build, maintain, and service our vital telecommunications infrastructure.”

“These elected leaders clearly appreciate the role that our members play in providing a twenty-first century telecommunications system,” said Don Trementozzi, President of CWA Local 1400. “FairPoint has not bargained fairly and has now imposed terms that allow the company to outsource our jobs to less skilled, out-of-state and foreign contractors. It’s bad for our communities, and we will continue to communicate our concerns with elected leaders around our state and in Washington.”

IBEW Local 2320 in Manchester is part of IBEW System Council T9, which includes local unions in New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont and represents nearly 1,700 employees at FairPoint Communications. CWA Local 1400 represents nearly 300 FairPoint employees in the three states.

New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence: Stopping Workplace And Domestic Violence

Editor’s Note: This is a special guest post Sara Persechino, Development Coordinator for the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence who wants to talk about Domestic Violence. Domestic Violence can effect workers in many ways and can even result in further violence in our workplaces.  Please take a moment to read what Sara is saying and help spread the word that the victims of Domestic Violence need our help.  We in the labor movement have always used the term, “giving you a voice in the workplace,” when we are trying to organize workers.  Victims of Domestic Violence need us to be the voice to this issue that effects almost 25% of all women.

1 in 3 graphice

Two-thirds of Americans believe domestic violence is a serious problem, yet just more than 1 in 3 have ever talked about it. In the wake of Ray Rice’s suspension from the National Football League, our nation is engaged in the largest conversation about domestic violence in this country since O.J. Simpson. This is our chance to get it right—to have a substantive conversation about how to prevent future violence by educating our young people, fully supporting crisis enter services for victims of domestic violence, and making sure we all know the warning signs of abuse and how we can help.

If we’re going to end domestic violence, we need everyone on board—including the labor movement. Domestic violence compromises the well-being, job performance, and productivity of valuable employees and it is also one of the leading causes of workplace violence. The following statistics from the Joint Labor and Management Domestic Violence Awareness Program make a clear case for why domestic violence should be of concern for employers and unions:

  • Since almost 1 in 4 women are affected by domestic violence, a conservative estimate is that 10% of employees may be affected by domestic violence.
  • 24% of abused women said they were either late or missed days of work due to abuse.
  • Batterers commit 13,000 violent acts against their partners in the workplace each year.

The NFL isn’t the only employer who can, and should, address domestic violence as a workplace issue. Employers, employees, and community advocates across the nation can work together to establish domestic violence in the workplace policies. On their website, the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence has created a sample policy for local businesses to use, as well as sample safety plans and best practices on how employers and coworkers can become an active witness if they believe someone in the work place is experiencing domestic violence.

The Coalition is committed to engaging community partners in a conversation about domestic violence and stakeholders’ role in ensuring New Hampshire communities, including the workplace, are safe for everyone. Their commitment to ending domestic violence has been recognized by the Allstate Foundation. Currently, the Coalition is one of 140 organizations nationwide participating in a fundraising competition—the #PurplePurse Challenge—aimed at igniting awareness about domestic violence and the role finances play in abuse.

You can help this local nonprofit win a national fundraising campaign by making a small gift of $10 or more today. Every dollar counts—the top ten fundraising groups will win additional funds, ranging from $10,000 to $100,000. Click the link below to get in on the Purple Purse Challenge—all donations collected will help the Coalition address domestic violence issues in New Hampshire.

https://www.crowdrise.com/purplepurse-nhcadsv

 

AFL-CIO Announces Targeted Mail Campaign In Select States

AFLCIO MailMail to hit nearly 1 million households in AK, CO, CT, FL, IA, IL, KY, ME, MI and WI

(Washington, DC)—This week the AFL-CIO will launch its 2014 mail program, designed to persuade voters to support working family candidates. The mail is part of the AFL-CIO’s massive political mobilization program, which includes knocking on doors, distributing worksite fliers and phone banking. With more than 12 million members, the AFL-CIO’s boots on the ground make it one of the largest grassroots efforts in the country.

This week’s mail program includes 25 different pieces in 10 states: Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan and Wisconsin. The mail specifies the economic stakes this fall for all working people. The program is built on the trust and solidarity within unions and is designed to encourage voting even among working people who are discouraged by the weak economy.

Subjects include the need for working people to vote to counteract corporate control of politics, hold accountable pro-Wall Street politicians, support public education and enable paid sick leave. This mail program will continue through Election Day, and conversations with union members about working family candidates will continue into 2015 and beyond.

To view individual mail pieces, click on this link or paste it into your browser: http://www.aflcio.org/Legislation-and-Politics/2014-Printed-Mail-Political-Ads

Leominster Hospital CEO Refuses To Meet With Nurses Union Over Staffing Cuts

Leominster Hospital CEO Refuses to Meet With Nurses To Hear Nurses’ Patient Safety Concerns Regarding the Proposed Staffing Cuts, Service Consolidation and Increases to Nurses’ Patient Assignments

CEO Deborah Weymouth’s Refusal Follows the Delivery of Petition Signed by 90 Percent of the Nurses on Staff Warning that the Cuts Will Jeopardize Care for All Patients at the Facility

Other News:  MNA/NNU Submits Letters to DPH Asking the Agency to Reject the Hospital’s Application for the Ill-Conceived Merger of its Pediatric Unit and Maternity Unit Claiming the Placement of Ill Children with Healthy Newborns Will Increase the Risk of Infection and Other Negative Outcomes 

LEOMINSTER, Mass. ¾ The nurses at UMass Memorial/Health Alliance Leominster Hospital were alarmed to learn this week that their CEO Deborah Weymouth has refused to meet with them to hear their serious concerns about the impact of a plan her management team has proposed to cut nursing and support staff, increase nurses’ patient assignments and to reorganize patient care services – a plan the nurses believe will jeopardize the quality and safety of care for every patient entering the hospital.

Last week, a delegation of nurses hand delivered petitions opposing the hospital’s plan signed by more than 90 percent of the nurses on staff at the hospital to Weymouth, along with a letter asking for a meeting with Weymouth where she could hear the nurses concerns directly before proceeding with the dangerous changes.  At the delivery, Weymouth stated she would be pleased to meet with the nurses, but this week the hospital’s vice president of human resources notified the Massachusetts Nurses Association that Weymouth was reneging on her offer to meet, and would only meet with the nurses after the staffing cuts and service consolidation was implemented.

“We are shocked by our CEOs total disregard for the nurses and patients at this hospital as demonstrated by her refusal to hear what we have to say about changes that will impact the safety of our patients. “said Natalie M. Pereira, a nurse at the hospital and chair of the nurses’ local bargaining unit with the Massachusetts Nurses Association/National Nurses United. “She is the CEO, the buck stops with her and so does the responsibility for the safety of every patient in this hospital. It is all too clear that she cares more about the bucks than the patients at this facility, which only strengthens nurses’ resolve to speak out about the dangers of this plan.”

MNA Appeals to DPH to Reject Health Alliance Plan to Merge the Hospital’s Pediatric and Maternity Unit 

As part of its effort to stop these changes to patient care delivery, the Massachusetts Nurses Association/National Nurses United has submitted letters to the Department of Public Health to alert the agency to risks posed to children and newborns under the hospitals plan to merge its pediatric, labor and delivery and maternity units, which are currently separated and distinct units with specialized staff to care for each patient population.  To obtain copies of the letters to DPH, contact David Schildmeier at dschildmeier@mnarn.org; 781-249-0430.

The hospital’s plan also calls for the merger of  the pediatric, labor and delivery, and maternity units, cutting staff on these units, and expecting nurses who currently specialize in each area to cross train to practice in multiple areas. This proposal goes against what the professional standards for maternity and pediatric care show is best for those patients.

The hospital has made an application to DPH to obtain approval for architectural plans to construct a combined unit. They must also seek clinical approval for the mixing of staff to care for these patients.

The MNA letters ask DPH to reject the hospital’s application, pointing to faults in the plan that fail to provide necessary structural features to protect mothers and newborns from serious infections.  The letters also cite the dangers of the hospital’s plan to require the cross training of nurses to allow nurses who care for sick children to also work with vulnerable newborns and mothers.

Below is a key section of the first letter that was mailed to DPH:

Leominster’s plans also include assigning nursing staff to cover two very different types of units each with their own special set of risks of hospital acquired infection. Assigning nurses to care for both infected pediatric patients and mothers/neonates at the same time is dangerous and should not be permitted. The risk for cross-contamination and subsequent hospital-acquired infections is high and violates MDPH regulations at 105 CMR 130.740 which state “Nursing personnel regularly assigned to the Pediatric unit or sub-unit shall have this as their primary patient care responsibility.” The rationale behind these long-standing regulations is patient protection, which these plans would violate.  Hospital-acquired infections are generally viewed as one of the biggest challenges facing hospitals and public health today, with little progress made to address this problem in the past decade. Leominster’s space and service plans will be an enormous step backwards, rather than progress forward, in addressing this well documented patient safety goal.

A second letter was sent to DPH this week to reinforce the MNA/NNU’s position and the dangers of the hospital’s plan, highlighting the recent outbreak of the Enterovirus D68 virus and the risks that would pose to children at Leominster Hospital if these units were merged.

The second letter to DPH states:

Given the EV068 enterovirus is already taxing the Pedi units and PICUs in other states, who are reporting calling in extra staff to respond, it is clearly more urgent than ever that UMass Leominster not be permitted to place pediatric patients with neonates, as their plans call for.

“Any careful examination of the hospitals plans, whether it is the plan to merge these units, or to cut staff in the ED and increase patient assignments on other floors, shows that patients are being at unnecessary risk for injury or harm,” said Theresa Love, a nurse on the pediatric unit and member of the nurses negotiating committee.  “The failure of our CEO to even listen to these concerns is shocking to say the least.”

The hospital’s plan calls for increasing nurses’ patient assignments from five to six on the hospital’s medical-surgical floor, which research shows increases the risk of death for all those patients by 7 to 14 percent. Management is also proposing cuts to ED staffing, which will mean longer wait times for patients, more boarding of patients, and the likelihood that a patient could suffer a complication because of these delays in care.

The Leominster RNs have moved forward with a community awareness campaign to tell the public how a planned downsizing of staff at the hospital could hurt medical care for patients. Nurses have distributed lawn signs and store signs throughout the community that read, “Leominster Nurses Say Staffing Cuts Hurt Us All.”  They have also been meeting with local legislators and policymakers to educate them about the dangers of the Health Alliance/UMass staffing cuts. “We want the community to know that reduced staffing will force the remaining RNs to take on higher caseloads, and the impact this will have on our patients,” Pereira said.

____________________________________________________

Founded in 1903, the Massachusetts Nurses Association/National Nurses United is the largest professional health care organization and the largest union of registered nurses in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Its 23,000 members advance the nursing profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice, promoting the economic and general welfare of nurses in the workplace, projecting a positive and realistic view of nursing, and by lobbying the Legislature and regulatory agencies on health care issues affecting nurses and the public. The MNA is a founding member of National Nurses United, the largest national nurses’ union in the United States with more than 170,000 members from coast to coast.

NH AFL-CIO Scholarship Essay Series: To Raise, Or Not To Raise {The Minimum Wage}: That Is The Question

Today’s NH AFL-CIO Scholarship essay winner is Tyler Tambouris.  Tyler’s father Michael is a Sheet Metal Worker (local 17).   Tyler is attending River University this year.  This essay won Tyler second place in the scholarship essay contest. 

To Raise, or Not to Raise: That is the Question

Tyler TambourisBy:  Tyler Tambouris

Should New Hampshire enact a State minimum wage, which would be higher than the Federal limit? To this question, I would absolutely answer yes!   I have read several articles and spoken to many people regarding raising the minimum wage.  I have heard both sides of the argument and seen facts that go for and against both sides.  I am convinced that raising the State minimum wage would do more good than harm.

In all the articles I have read, this topic seems to be a Republican versus Democrat debate.  It sounds as if the majority of the Republicans think that raising the minimum wage would hurt our economy by causing many people to lose their job.  They think that if the pay goes up, companies will no longer be able to afford all the workers so they will have to let many go.  This in turn will cause people to rely on the system more and spend less.  However, I also read the data that showed what happened to the states that did raise the minimum wage, and the facts overwhelmingly prove those Republicans wrong.  It showed that although there was some job loss in the beginning, it was substantially lower than stated and only lasted for a short time.  Overall, because people were making more money, they were also spending more in local businesses, which eventually lead to hiring more people.  It was a win, win situation.

When I read that minimum wage has been $7.25 an hour since September 1, 2008 it really hit home how wrong it is to not pass the Bill to raise it.  Think of gas alone and how much the price of it has gone up in just the past 2 years.  Minimum wage has stayed the same for almost 6 years, however, every expense has gone up, one just cannot survive on less than $300.00 a week.  The minimum wage just hasn’t kept up with the cost of living.

Until four years ago, my best friend’s father was a financial worker making almost 6 figures.  They lived very comfortably in Merrimack, NH.  In 2008, he was laid off from his company.  They provided him a severance package that ran out after 6 months.  During that time, he searched and searched for any comparable job, but there was nothing.  He had to get on unemployment and his wife, who was an educational assistant, had to get a second job.  This still wasn’t enough; there were threats of their house being taken away.  Grandparents had to step in and use their retirement money to help them make the bills every month.  After a year of searching for a job and collecting unemployment, my friend’s father entered a depression because he realized there just were not any jobs available for an older financial man.   He finally got a call from a retail store, however, he would start at minimum wage.  This family has had to rent out rooms in their house, and rely on the grandparents to help them.  They now live week to week, every penny accounted for.  My best friend tells me about how they can’t even afford good food. He usually comes to my house to get a nice home cooked meal, because healthy food is much more expensive than junk food or the dollar menu from McDonalds.

One article I read was from a politician that challenged himself to survive on minimum wage for one week, one week!!!  He stated that he had $74.00 for food, gas, and just any incidental we need day to day.  This money had run out by Thursday.  He was forced to walk 2 miles to work and meetings, and eat junk food because it was so inexpensive.  Never mind if he got sick, there was no money for the doctor or medicine.

After thinking about all the articles I have read, and all the people I have spoken with, it just seems like the only thing that will help the people of New Hampshire and New Hampshire’s economy, is to raise the State Minimum Wage.  New Hampshire’s minimum wage is the lowest in New England, why is it that our politicians don’t see the benefits?  Yes, there was evidence of some employees losing their job immediately after raising the minimum wage, however, the long-term effects show improvement in the state’s economy.

Not only would it be beneficial to the people that are working in these jobs, data shows that low wage workers, out of necessity, usually spend every dollar they can in local grocery stores, gas stations, and businesses.  Raising their wages would also raise the money they would be spending.

Another benefit would be for the businesses paying higher than minimum wage.  Data has shown that the workers will spend more time with a company if they are making enough to live.  This will save the company money in having to frequently train workers.  Their employees will also be happier working for them, which will improve their work production.

In conclusion, raising minimum wage would be a boost of the economy in New Hampshire. No matter what the scenario, there will be downsides to either choice. But, I strongly feel that the upsides of raising minimum wage definitely outweigh the downsides of it. Not only will it boost the economy, but it will help people to live a better lifestyle!

 

NH AFL-CIO Scholarship Essay Series: Raising the NH Minimum Wage Would Strengthen The NH Advantage

Today’s essay comes from Robert Dudgeon who is attending Northern Essex Comm. College perusing a degree in political science. Robert’s mother, Tracy, is a member of the Professional Firefighters of NH Local #4104.  Robert took First Place in the NH AFL-CIO Scholarship contest.

 

Raising the NH Minimum Wage Would Strengthen The NH Advantage

By Robert Dudgeon (titled by NHLN editor)

Why is the minimum wage important, one may ask? It’s only a starter wage, a law that doesn’t affect many workers, right? Think again. 20% of working teenagers, 19% of food-service workers, and 4.3% of all workers in the US (3.3 million people) earn the minimum wage, which is currently $7.25/ hour [1]. The minimum wage is a big deal. It is the lowest rate that a worker can sell their labor for, the law that shows people at the bottom of the economic ladder how much their labor is worth and saves them from working for pennies while they try to climb the ladder. Many critics of the minimum wage don’t understand how impossible it is to live on it. When told that it’s impossible to live on the minimum wage, those critics will start explaining how people are supposed to get more education to move up out of minimum wage jobs, while ignoring the fact that you can’t afford an education while earning the minimum wage. Finally, they will argue that raising the minimum wage will destroy all of the minimum wage jobs, while ignoring the fact that minimum wage jobs continue to exist after numerous minimum wage hikes since the original 25 cents/ hour in 1938. Since the current minimum wage is not a living wage, since working for the current minimum wage will not pay for your education, and since minimum wage hikes do not destroy jobs, I support enacting a NH State minimum wage that goes up in 3 steps ($8.20 in 2014, $9.15 in 2015, $10.10 in 2016) to $10.10/ hour by 2016 and is indexed to inflation to allow for future cost-of-living increases. My proposal is in line with a national campaign to raise the minimum wage, which is supported by President Obama and 600+ economists [2].

Considering the past minimum wage of $7.25/ hour, $10.10 sounds too high, but when compared to New Hampshire’s high cost of living, it’s just right. When one uses the MIT Living Calculator, a free online finance tool, to find the living cost in NH, the living wage needed to match the cost of living in NH is $9.68 for the whole state, with pricey areas such as Hillsborough County and Rockingham County costing $10.07 and $10.15 to live in [3]. The $9/ hour wage proposed by some moderates will just not make the cut, but $10.10 will allow low-income workers the chance to pay all of their bills on time.

Creating a state minimum wage will immediately make a huge difference for Granite State families on the brink of poverty. 77,000 workers making under $10.10/ hour and 36,000 workers who earn more than $10.10 would all see raises as a result of the new state minimum wage [4]. Those who make minimum wage working full-time will see an extra $114 dollars in their paycheck every week [my calculations], which would immediately be spent on gas, food, or other expenses that would otherwise be limited. 12% of New Hampshire children live in families with at least one parent who would earn more from the new state minimum wage [4], which means 1 out of 8 children will have better medical care, eat healthier food, and have a more stable family. 59% of the workers who would see raises are women, and 21% of all working women in New Hampshire would earn more money, which would make the state minimum wage a massive gain for womens’ equal pay [4]. 12% of all workers aged 55+ would get a pay raise, which makes the proposed state minimum wage an excellent way to contribute to comfortable retirements for our senior citizens [4]. 47% of the workers getting raises would be from families making less than $60,000/ year (low-income families), and 42% of all workers from families making less than $20,000/ year would get raises, making the new minimum wage a targeted method of eliminating extreme poverty [4]. The facts show that a $10.10 state minimum wage would improve the financial and personal well-being of traditionally insecure New Hampshire residents, including children in low-income families, the elderly, and women.

Everyone can agree that education is the key to a better job, more pay, and a happier life. Nearly every one of my fellow students was pushed to go to college after we graduated from Pinkerton Academy (Derry, NH), and since most of our parents couldn’t pay our tuition bills, we all found summer jobs and hoped that we could save up enough money to pay for college tuition like our parents and grandparents said they did. However, once the summer ended, most of friends (and myself) had to take on heavy student loans to pay for school when we found out that minimum wage paid nowhere near enough to finance a college education. If you’re a college student lucky enough to have a job at minimum wage for 40 hours/ week during the summer and 20 hours/ week during the school year, you earn ~ $9,500/ year [my calculations], which allows you to attend community college for your first 2 years, but not to attend UNH, which runs ~$16,500/ year for in-state tuition [5]. A couple of my friends couldn’t get parents to co-sign on loans, and they’re working menial jobs until they can afford college. The proposed state minimum wage law would make this situation more workable by increasing the pay for the aforementioned job to ~$13,300/ year, and by boosting pay for low-income families, could allow more low-income students to go straight to college while working to pay most of their bills. Parents could assist with extra funds for the last piece in the affordability puzzle. A whopping 84% of working teenagers would benefit directly or indirectly from the new wage, and the larger economy would benefit from more young people getting a college education without crushing student loan debt.

Finally, there is the question of how many jobs will be available after the proposed minimum wage hike is passed. Many opponents of minimum wage hikes like to predict that massive layoffs will commence once the pen hits the paper and that small businesses will become non-existent, just as they also predicted when child labor was banned, and when the 40-hour workweek was created, when  the EPA was created, and several other times. They simply ignore two large factors that will soften the blow of increased labor costs to businesses. First, increased consumer demand will result from the workers spending their new raises, which will increase business and give businesses enough extra money to retain their workers. The Economic Policy Institute, the only think tank that has done major research into the wage hike, predicts that New Hampshire will gain 400 full-time jobs from the increase demand created by the new state minimum wage. This is a very modest gain due to the fact that New Hampshire already has lower unemployment (4.4% in June 2014) than the rest of the country (6.2% in June 2014)[6]. Also, businesses will pay less in taxes to finance the government assistance programs that low-wage workers rely on when they pay them living wages.

That is the case for raising the minimum wage to $10.10. Nobody knows the exact reason that the federal minimum wage has stagnated. It could have been declining union membership rates that caused labor to lose political power. It could have been strong opponents crying wolf about proposed increases. Regardless of what the federal government will do, New Hampshire must act in its own self-interest and enact a state minimum wage to create a living wage for at-risk groups and families, to allow students the chance to work hard and improve their skills through college, and to create a better climate for business in the Granite State.

 

Works Cited:

1. “Characteristics of Minimum Wage Workers, 2013.” BLS Reports (n.d.): n. pag. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Mar. 2014. Web. 7 Aug. 2014.

2. “College Costs: Find out How Much College Costs.” CNNMoney. Cable News Network, n.d. Web. 08 Aug. 2014. .

3. Cooper, David. “Raising the Federal Minimum Wage to $10.10 Would Lift Wages for Millions and Provide a Modest Economic Boost.” Economic Policy Institute. Economic Policy Institute, 19 Dec. 2013. Web. 07 Aug. 2014. <http://www.epi.org/publication/raising-federal-minimum-wage-to-1010/>.

4. Glasmeier, Amy K. Counties and Places in New Hampshire. Living Wage Calculator. MIT, n.d. Web. 08 Aug. 2014. .

5. “Local Area Unemployment Statistics Home Page.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, n.d. Web. 07 Aug. 2014. <http://www.bls.gov/lau/>.

6. “Over 600 Economists Sign Letter In Support of $10.10 Minimum Wage: Economist Statement on the Federal Minimum Wage.” Economic Policy Institute. Economic Policy Institute, Jan. 2014. Web. 08 Aug. 2014.

Every Child Matters To Host 7th Annual “STEP UP FOR KIDS DAY”

step-up-for-kids-dayJoin Us to Step Up for Kids

On Tuesday, September 23rd Every Child Matters in New Hampshire will be hosting our 7th annual Step Up for Kids Day. Each year Step Up for Kids brings together thousands of people across the country to show widespread support for investments in children and families.  Participants include child advocates, policy makers, educators, agencies and organizations, grandparents, parents and kids. These non-partisan events across the states raise awareness about the issues American children face, among them access to early care and learning, after-school programs, poverty, child abuse and neglect, and health care.

msgileThis year’s ECM-New Hampshire event will be held at the Holiday Inn, 172 North Main Street, Concord. Our morning will begin with breakfast at 7:45 am and end by noon with a special tribute to our friend and true champion for children, Representative Mary Stuart Gile.

Our Community Conversation Roundtable discussions will focus on the programs, policies, and initiatives that help New Hampshire children grow Granite Strong, and ensure that our State has a future workforce that is ready to learn and ready to earn.

Please consider spending your morning with us for some great food, information, and conversation as we Step Up for Kids!

To register please click HERE! There is no charge to attend this event.

  • Advertisement

  • Advertisement