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On Day One Of The DNC, Labor Advocates Push For A Higher Minimum Wage #RaiseItDamnIt

On First Day Of Democratic National Convention, CWA, SEIU Presidents, PA Senate Candidate, L.A. Mayor Call On Congress To Raise the Minimum Wage

CWA President Chris Shelton speaks at #RaiseItDamnIt Event at DNC

CWA President Chris Shelton speaks at #RaiseItDamnIt Event at DNC

National and state advocates launch #RaiseItDamnIt campaign to declare $7.25 is not enough on the 7th anniversary of last increase in the federal minimum wage

As Republicans in Congress block minimum wage increase, 17 states and Washington, D.C., have raised the wage since 2014

PHILADELPHIA — Communications Workers of America President Chris Shelton, Service Employees International Union President Mary Kay Henry, Pennsylvania Senate Democratic candidate Katie McGinty, Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles, Working Families Party National Director Dan Cantor, Bishop Dwayne Royster and airport worker Onetha McKnight today called for policymakers and businesses to ensure all working people earn a living wage.

Coming on the heels of the most divisive and anti-worker Republican National Convention ever, over 100 advocacy groups, including Center for American Progress, Center for Popular Democracy, Economic Policy Institute, the Fairness Project, National Employment Law Project, the Working Families Party, and others are holding a national day of action on the anniversary of the last increase in the federal minimum wage, currently at $7.25 an hour.  More than 50 canvassers arrived in Philadelphia as the Democratic National Convention began, and actions in states around the country are demonstrating support to #RaiseItDamnIt on social media with a trending hashtag and over 1 million social media impressions so far today. Popular Twitter accounts also tweeted about the day of action, including: @BarackObama, @SenatorReid, @LaborSec, @PattyMurray. and others. The website, RaiseItDamnIt.org, will continue to be the online organizing hub of activity.

“Working families are suffering because, for too long, our elected officials have refused to act. A living wage isn’t a luxury, it’s a right that must be enforced by raising the federal minimum wage,” said CWA President Chris Shelton. 

“All workers deserve $15 an hour and the ability to have a voice on the job by joining a union,” said SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry. “This November, working families face a clear choice between Hillary Clinton, who supports our movement, and Donald Trump, who thinks wages are already too high. This election is the most consequential of their lifetime and the stakes could not be higher.”

The last increase to the minimum wage was signed into law in 2007 by President George W. Bush, and supported by Republicans in both the House and Senate. Raising the wage is popular with the American public: 63 percent of Americans support a $15 an hour minimum wage by 2020, and a September 2015 poll found that, by a 3-1 margin, voters are more likely to support political candidates who favor raising the minimum wage.  

“It is time for us to enable our citizens to be able to make a living wage and have the opportunity to thrive,” said Democratic Senate candidate Katie McGinty. “Right now, people making the minimum wage are struggling to get by, and we need to do better for Pennsylvania workers and for workers around the country.” 

Mayor Eric Garcetti, who signed a $15 an hour minimum wage bill into law in Los Angeles in 2015 said, “No American who works hard should be forced to live in poverty. For the 600,000 Angelenos this will affect, the bill is a lifesaver. But we can’t stop until all Americans earn a living wage.”

“There are millions of Americans in states red, blue, and purple who struggle to put food on the table everyday. It’s a national disgrace,” said Dan Cantor, National Director of the Working Families Party. “Politicians should shut out the lobbyists for the 1 percent long enough to hear the truth, and those who can’t should pay the price.”

Four states will also bring minimum wage referendums to their voters this fall, as Colorado today submitted 200,000 signatures, more than twice the required amount, to join Arizona, Maine, and Washington. This comes on the heels of two of the most populous states in the country – California and New York – passing a $15 an hour minimum wage increase, earlier this year.

“As a father, husband, minister and social justice advocate in Philadelphia, I see first-hand how the minimum wage marginalizes people of color and contributes to the cycle of poverty we are stuck in,” said Bishop Dwayne Royster, Founding Pastor of Living Water UCC. “Economic justice must be sought alongside racial justice.”

“I stood with my brothers and sisters on strike to demand what we deserve: a higher wage and access to a union,” said Onetha McKnight, a wheelchair attendant at Philadelphia International Airport. McKnight and her co-workers have been organizing for more than three years and just last week were victorious in their demands for a fair process to form their union and negotiate a living wage

“Because of Republican obstruction, the federal minimum wage has been frozen at just $7.25 for seven years – locking more than 35 million American workers in low-paying jobs. Today, families and voters across the country are saying enough is enough – we need national leadership that will #RaiseItDamnIt,” said Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project Action Fund.

“The call for a higher minimum wage is getting louder all around the country – because it’s getting harder and harder to put food on the table, afford rent, or support a family,” said JoEllen Chernow, Director of Economic Justice at Center for Popular Democracy. “We’ve waited nearly a decade for a meaningful raise, and we simply cannot wait one more. It’s time to give Americans a raise and ensure we support all working families in this country.”

Democratic Platform Draft Calls for $15 Minimum Wage, Elimination of Tipped Wage

 Democratic Platform’s Wage Proposal Would Bring Fair Base Wage to Millions, Improve Lives of Workers in Restaurant Industry

waitress black and whiteNew York, NY — On Saturday afternoon, the Democratic Platform Drafting Committee issued a draft of the policy positions Sec. Clinton will be running on this November. According to a statement by Clinton campaign senior policy advisor Maya Harris, the draft platform “contains ambitious, progressive principles on wages, stating that working people should earn at least $15 an hour, citing New York’s minimum wage law and calling for raising and indexing the federal minimum wage. It also calls for the elimination of the ‘tipped’ wage and for the right of workers to form or join a union.”

Saru Jayaraman, co-founder of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC United), a national leader on efforts to establish “One Fair Wage” and eliminate the tipped minimum wage, hails this as a victory:

“Establishing a $15 base wage for all workers and eliminating the tipped minimum is a major step toward correcting decades of injustice and improving the lives of millions of fellow Americans — especially women and people of color. The restaurant industry, in particular, has lagged way behind in wages: the federal tipped minimum has remained $2.13 for 25 years, and nearly half of tipped workers live near the poverty line. As a result of having to work for tips with no fair base wage, restaurant workers have to endure all kinds of sexual harassment from both customers and staff: 90% have reported experiencing sexual harassment on the job, according to our research. The separate tipped minimum wage also has created a ‘two-tier’ system that has placed an enormous burden on the restaurant business. 

“Secretary Clinton pledged her support for eliminating the tipped minimum wage during a visit to ROC’s COLORS restaurant a few months ago, and we thank her, and Senator Sanders who has been an ardent supporter of One Fair Wage, and other members of the platform committee for working to bring a fair base wage to low-wage workers across the U.S.”

Tipped Wage Facts (view research here):

–The US is the only industrialized nation where tipped workers depend on tips for a majority of their income.  

–With over 11 million employees, the restaurant industry is one of the largest growing industries in the nation, and the largest employer of minimum wage workers (1 in 12 Americans)

–90% of restaurant workers have been sexually harassed on the job; Absent a stable base wage, tipped workers are forced to tolerate inappropriate behavior from customers on whose tips they depend to feed their families, and from co-workers and management who often influence shifts and hours

–Nearly 70% of restaurant workers are women

–53% of tipped workers are people of color

–Half of restaurant workers live at or near the poverty line

–The last time the Federal tipped minimum wage was raised was in 1991

–1 in 7 tipped workers relies on food stamps to feed themselves and their families

Granite State Rumblings: Affordable Housing Vs Minimum Wage

Minimum Wage Vs HoursOut of Reach 2016, a new report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition tells us that in no state, metropolitan area, or county can a full-time worker earning the prevailing minimum wage afford a modest two-bedroom apartment.

In 2016, the national Housing Wage is $20.30 for a two-bedroom rental unit and $16.35 for a one-bedroom rental unit. A worker earning the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour would need to work 2.8 full time jobs, or approximately 112 hours per week for all 52 weeks of the year, in order to afford a two-bedroom apartment at HUD’s Fair Market Rent (FMR). If this worker slept for eight hours per night, he or she would have no remaining time during the week for anything other than working and sleeping.

As Julian Castro, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development points out, “Three-quarters of extremely low-income families pay more than half of their income just to keep a roof over their heads, leaving less money for food, child care, transportation, and so many other basic necessities. And it’s not just people of very modest means who are working harder to make ends meet.  Last year, rising rents in a number of cities outpaced the rate of inflation, which is hurting low-and moderate-income Americans… The crisis is also affecting seniors, many of whom live on fixed incomes.”

According to the report, the lowest income households face the greatest housing affordability challenges. Extremely low income (ELI) households have income at or below 30% of their area median. On average, they can afford to spend no more than $507 per month on housing costs. An individual relying on Supplemental Security Income (SSI) in 2016 can only afford monthly rent of $220. Meanwhile, the national average monthly rent for a modest one-bedroom apartment is $850. The national average cost of a modest one-bedroom apartment would consume more than a single SSI recipient’s entire income. Such an individual would be unable to maintain shelter without housing assistance.

Wage stagnation and income inequality contribute to the gap between what people earn and the cost of their housing. From 2007 to 2015, the bottom 10% of wage earners saw a 0.2% increase in real hourly wages, while the top 5% saw an 8.7% increase, continuing a long-term trend of growing income equality. Between 1979 and 2013, the bottom 10% of wage earners saw a 5.3% decline in real hourly wages, while the top 5% saw a 40.6% increase.

The demand for rental housing is at its highest level since the 1960s.  In the past decade alone, the U.S. has added nine million renter households, but only 8.2 million rental housing units to its housing stock. Vacancy rates are at their lowest levels since 1985 and rents have risen at an annual rate of 3.5%, the fastest pace in three decades.

Growth in the supply of low cost rental units has not kept pace with the significant growth in demand. Between 2003 and 2013, the number of low cost units renting for less than $400 increased by 10%, but the number of renter households in need of these units increased by 40%.

In addition to raising the minimum wage, public investments in housing programs are essential to address the shortage of rental housing affordable and available to ELI and VLI households. One new and promising tool for addressing this shortage is the national Housing Trust Fund (HTF).

The HTF is the first new federal housing program in a generation to focus on Extremely Low Income (ELI) households. It will receive a first time allocation of nearly $173.6 million in the summer of 2016 for distribution to the 50 states and the District of Columbia. At least 90% of HTF funds must be used to build, preserve, or rehabilitate rental housing affordable to ELI and Very Low Income (VLI) households. A maximum of ten percent (10%) of HTF funds can be used for affordable homeownership activities. At least 75% of funds must benefit ELI households, and up to 25% can benefit VLI households.

Out of Reach 2016 highlights the affordability gap between the cost of rental housing and the wages of millions of renters who do not earn enough to afford a decent and safe home without significant sacrifice. Low income renters face the greatest challenge. Higher wages and a greater supply of affordable rental housing are necessary. If we make further gains in minimum wage legislation and expand funding for the national Housing Trust Fund, we can address the affordability gap.

GROWING UP GRANITE

In New Hampshire, the Fair Market Rent (FMR) for a two-bedroom apartment is $1,097. In order to afford this level of rent and utilities — without paying more than 30% of income on housing — a household must earn $3,655 monthly or $43,865 annually. Assuming a 40-hour work week, 52 weeks per year, this level of income translates into an hourly Housing Wage of $21.09.

Mind the Gap: Housing Costs Outpace Earnings for Thousands of NH Renters

By Elissa Margolin

Many Granite State families breathed a little easier as New Hampshire gained jobs, and its leaders rightly took a victory lap as unemployment rates fell to the second-lowest in the nation.

But new reports show a side of the state’s economy that is not often measured: the significant gap between what families earn and what housing costs in NH.

According to the 2016 Out of Reach report, an annual look at what it takes to pay the rent around the country, NH families now need to make over $21 an hour to afford rent and make all ends meet. There are about 150,000 renter households in NH, and their mean salary is just $14.08 an hour, according to the report’s author, the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

Standard economic practice suggests no more than 1/3 of income is spent on rent and utilities in order to have enough left for groceries, childcare, and transportation. That means the average renter family should ideally not spend more than $732/month on housing expenses. Meanwhile, in NH, fair market rent statewide is $1,097 a month, and even higher in places like the Seacoast.

It’s not hard to see where the struggle begins.

The New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute (NHFPI) recently released two reports detailing how difficult it can be to make ends meet here in the Granite State.  For instance, NHFPI finds that the incomes families need to secure basic necessities here in NH are actually several times the official poverty threshold.  A family of three living in the Strafford/Great Bay area, for example, needs an income of more than $63,000 per year to purchase essentials like housing, food, and medical and child care.

The upshot? Families are either paying more for housing than they can afford, sacrificing from groceries, or perhaps settling for situational childcare that is not of high quality or reliability.

The good news is New Hampshire has some tools in the toolbox to close the gap between housing costs and incomes and attain better outcomes for families, businesses and communities. The state recently removed a regulatory barrier standing in the way of private homeowners who wish to add accessory dwelling units to their homes, adding to the supply of units for people with disabilities, seniors, caregivers and young people just starting out. NH should now step up to fund its state housing trust fund in a meaningful way, as most other states do, in order to add more affordable rental homes to our inadequate supply. NH must also look at wage policies, including re-establishing its own minimum wage and raising it to a level that better meets the needs of the modern economy.

In the long run, housing must be included in the equation toward a more family-friendly economy.

Elissa Margolin is director of Housing Action NH, a statewide coalition of 80 organizations and businesses united around a common vision that everyone benefits when all Granite Staters have a safe, affordable place to call home. At www.housingactionnh.org.

Fat Profits, But Lean Wages: Workers To Protest At McDonalds Shareholder Meeting

  • Fight for $15 Vows Biggest-Ever Protest at McDonald’s Shareholder Meeting
Mcdonalds fight for 15 strike

Fight for 15 strike in 2015

As Fast-Food Giant’s Profits Grow, 10,000 Workers to Flood Company HQ, Demand Higher Pay So They Don’t Have to Rely on Food Stamps

Strike for $15, Union Rights by Chicago-Area Fast-Food Workers to Kick Off Two Days of Protest

Oak Brook, Ill. – McDonald’s cooks and cashiers announced Thursday that thousands of underpaid workers fighting for $15/hour and union rights nationwide will converge in the Chicago area next week to wage the largest-ever protests to hit the fast-food giant’s annual shareholder meeting.

Fast-food workers across Chicago and its suburbs will kick off two days of protests by walking off their jobs Wednesday morning, followed in the afternoon by a massive march of a record 10,000 fast-food, home care, child care, and other underpaid workers on the company’s Oak Brook, Ill. headquarters. The protesters will argue it is wrong for a company whose stock just hit an all-time high to pay wages so low that its workers are compelled to rely on public assistance to scrape by.

McDonald’s profits in the first quarter rose 35%, propelled largely by the company’s move to serve breakfast all day, prompting the New York Times to argue in an editorial, “Fat Profits, but Lean Wages,” that it’s time for the company to share its good fortune with its workers.

“McDonald’s sales are going through the roof, but my children have to live with their grandparents because I can’t afford to keep a roof over our heads as long as my paycheck is stuck at minimum wage,” said George McCray, a McDonald’s worker from Chicago, Ill., who is paid $8.25/hour. “We’ve been working hard to make new changes like the All-Day Breakfast a success and have helped make the company billions, but our wages haven’t budged. How much longer will McDonald’s workers have to wait before the company’s success benefits us too?”

On Thursday morning, thousands of workers will take their demand for $15/hour and union rights directly to the company’s shareholder meeting. Underpaid workers from across the service sector – joined by McDonald’s workers from five countries spanning three continents – will demand that McDonald’s use its global economic footprint to lift up working families across the economy rather than hold them down. They’ll argue that McDonald’s is driving a race to the bottom that is hurting workers across the service economy.

Rob Mercier, a low wage worker from New Hampshire, will be one of those speaking out at the McDonalds shareholder meeting next week.

“I worked for McDonald’s for more than two years, struggling to pay bills and unable to afford to buy basic items like diapers and bottles for my newborn son at the time, said Rob Mercier, a member of the Fight for $15 in New Hampshire and a line cook at 5 Guys earning $9.00 an hour. “I worked long hours, picked up shifts, and worked overnight because my pay was too low, and when raises came around I was rewarded with a measly ten cents. That was a slap in the face. McDonald’s is the largest fast-food restaurant in the world and it’s time they do more than lead the fast-food industry by profits and start to lead by lifting up struggling families like mine.”

McDonalds low wages are not only hurting fast food workers they are driving down wages for workers all across the country in their race to the bottom.

“This isn’t just about fast-food workers or McDonald’s workers – McWages are holding us all back,” said Vicki Treadwell, a Milwaukee home care worker who is paid just $10.75/hour after 25 years on the job. “As long as McDonald’s fails to pay fair wages and rips off taxpayers, moms like me will have to turn to food pantries to feed our families. With its record profits, McDonald’s can choose to lift up all workers and the economy.”

While McDonald’s sales have soared in recent months, exceeding analysts’ expectations, and the fast-food giant’s stock hit a record high in May, the company’s low wages cost taxpayers an average of $1.2 billion every year in public assistance. This low-wage model drains revenue that could be used to support the country’s home care, child care and public education systems.

“Even though I educate and care for a classroom of three- and four-year-old children, I am paid just $8.40/hour, which means I have to choose which bills to put off so that I have enough cash for food,” said Shannon Mettie, a child care worker in Detroit, MI. “McDonald’s sets pay and standards at employers large and small. But as long as the fast-food giant keeps skimping on pay and dodging taxes, communities like mine won’t have the money we need for quality child care and strong schools.”

As McDonald’s faces louder calls from workers across the U.S. demanding higher pay and the right to a union, the company is also coming under fire from regulators and elected officials worldwide over a range of harmful business practices, including tax avoidance, labor violations, and anti-competitive practices.

In April, the French government sent a letter to McDonald’s demanding the company pay back €300 million ($340 million) in unpaid taxes and fines as a result of a scheme that funneled royalties through Luxembourg. Late last year the European Commission opened an investigation into McDonald’s over allegations the company avoided more than €1 billion in taxes via the same Luxembourg machinations.

Earlier this year, Spanish tax authorities opened a criminal investigation into McDonald’s tax avoidance, and leading consumer rights advocates and NGOs petitioned Italy’s top tax authorities late last year to investigate McDonald’s over allegations that the fast-food giant has dodged at least €74 million ($84 million) in taxes owed to Italy since 2009.

In January, Italian consumer groups filed an antitrust complaint with the European Commission, alleging exorbitant rents and onerous contracts thrust upon franchisees give the company an unfair advantage. Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom – the home of turf of CEO Steve Easterbrook – McDonald’s is facing more scrutiny than ever before. In April, Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn announced his party’s support for a global campaign to hold McDonald’s accountable, saying, “We will extend that campaign all across this continent.” Also last month, Labour Party leaders barred McDonald’s from sponsoring its party’s convention because of the company’s unfair treatment of workers. Worker protests in the UK forced McDonald’s to abandon its controversial zero-hours scheduling policy in which workers are required to be available to work all the time, but receive no set hours.

In March, Brazilian prosecutors launched an investigation of alleged “fiscal and economic crimes” committed by McDonald’s, including suspected tax avoidance and violations of Brazil’s franchise and competition laws. As McDonald’s looks to sell or refranchise thousands of company-owned stores worldwide, the Change to Win Investment group sent a letter to McDonald’s Board of Directors earlier this month expressing concern over flagging sales and poor corporate governance by the company’s master franchisor in Latin America, Arcos Dorados.

“In France, like elsewhere, McJobs leave us without enough to feed our families or live with dignity,” said Lynda Zarif, a McDonald’s worker from Paris, France, who will join the protest in Oak Brook next week. “At the same time, McDonald’s and its shareholders are enriching themselves and benefiting from billions in profits. McDonald’s workers are the ones in the kitchen making the Big Macs that the company sells every day, and we deserve to benefit from the company’s success.”

Vast Differences Between Republicans And Democratic Gubernatorial Candidates On Raising The Minimum Wage

Republican Candidates For Governor Of New Hampshire, Reject Overwhelming Voter Support For Raising The Minimum Wage.

Whether or not to raise the minimum wage in New Hampshire will undoubtedly be one of the biggest issues in this year’s Gubernatorial race. Large majorities of both, Republicans and Democrats, support raising the minimum wage. However as we have routinely seen in the New Hampshire Legislature, the elected representatives have made raising the minimum wage a completely partisan issue.

On Thursday, WMUR reported that all of the Republican candidates for governor—Executive Councilor Chris Sununu, Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas, State Senator Jeanie Forrester and State Representative Frank Edelblut—oppose the establishment of a state minimum wage, despite the fact New Hampshire is tied for the lowest minimum wage in the country at $7.25-an-hour.

“State Sen. Jeanie Forrester said clearly during her economic rollout news conference on Monday that she opposes the establishment of a state minimum wage,” wrote John DiStaso.

Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas “does not believe in increasing the minimum wage nor establishing a state wage,” spokeswoman Alicia Preston told WMUR. Gatsas voted against raising the minimum wage when he was a State Senator in 2007.

State Representative Frank Edelblut “opposes raising the minimum wage and voted against establishing a state minimum wage in the current legislative session,” added DiStaso.

Executive Councilor Chris Sununu is attempting to play both sides.

“I oppose establishing a state minimum wage. I am open to a responsible increase in the federal minimum wage, provided there is a strong economic and moral case for it,” Sununu told WMUR.

Given the current political environment in Washington against raising the minimum wage, Sununu can safely say that he is “open” to an increase at the federal level knowing it will probably not happen anytime soon.

“The Republican candidates’ steadfast opposition to establishing a minimum wage highlights how vastly out-of-touch they are with New Hampshire’s working families,” said NHDP Chair Ray Buckley. “Everyday Granite Staters are hurting, but Republicans continue to stick with the failed trickle-down economic policies of the past. It’s clear the GOP primary is deteriorating into a race to see who can run the farthest to the right, and they’re all tied.”

The Democratic candidates for governor—Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern, former State Securities Bureau Chief Mark Connolly and former Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand—all support establishing a state minimum wage.

“New Hampshire has the lowest minimum wage in the country. As governor, I’ll fight to establish a state minimum wage that rewards hard work and grows our economy,” said Executive Councilor, Colin Van Ostern.

“A full-time employee making the federal minimum wage earns just over $15,000 a year—it’s simply not enough. I strongly support establishing a state minimum wage in New Hampshire, because every Granite Stater deserves to be paid a fair, living wage for their hard work,” said Mark Connolly.

minimum wageAcross the board, 76% of Granite Staters surveyed supported raising the minimum wage. Even more astounding is that 59% of New Hampshire Republicans surveyed said they would support current proposals to raise the New Hampshire minimum wage.

Raising the minimum wage is not a partisan issue nationally or here in New Hampshire. Nationally, 63% of those surveyed support a $15 minimum wage by 2020, and 71% support the elimination of the tipped minimum wage.

Research from the New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute shows that just increasing the state’s Minimum Wage to $9 an hour would benefit over 76,000 people. That money would almost immediately be pushed right back into our local economies as low-wage workers spend almost everything they bring home in their paycheck.

“No matter who wins the primaries, voters will have a clear choice this November between a Republican who opposes raising the minimum wage and a Democrat who supports it,” Buckley added.

Leo W Gerard: Really, Really Rich Trump Is No Workers’ Champion

Trump Tower (m01229 FLIKR CC)

Trump Tower (m01229 FLIKR CC)

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald  “I am really, really rich” Trump is, according to Forbes, the 121st richest person in America. So, yes, he is really, really rich.

He loves the perks of being really, really rich, like flying to campaign events in one of his own private jets, which means he blithely skips those annoying airport security lines that non-billionaires must endure. He enjoys kicking back in one ofhis five houses, including the 58-bedroom Mar-A-Lago mansion, where the$600,000 annual property taxes are three times the entire cost of an average American home. And, of course, Trump relishes the power he has to tell workers, “You’re fired.”

Born into wealth, Trump attended private schools and inherited $40 million when he was just 28 years old. He didn’t spend summers volunteering for Habitat for Humanity in Appalachia. He didn’t take a gap year to put that fancy private school education to use tutoring inner city kids. So, frankly, it’s easy to understand why he opposes raising the minimum wage. This guy who was born with a really, really silver spoon in his mouth doesn’t have a clue what living on $7.25 an hour means.

2016-05-15-1463345960-5975605-TrumpBlogMinimumWage.jpg

Like all robber barons, Trump can’t spare a dime. He made that clear in the November Fox News debate. Trump said $7.25 is too much, too high a wage for the guy working two minimum-wage jobs to keep a roof over his widowed mother’s head or the single mother working 60 hours a week at two fast food joints to support her child.

Fox moderator Neil Cavuto asked Really Really Rich Trump if he was sympathetic to protesters demanding the minimum wage be raised.

“I can’t be,” Trump said.

“Taxes too high, wages too high,” Trump said later to explain his position that America couldn’t compete against other nations if U.S. workers are paid a living wage.

To put that in perspective, the annual income of a minimum-wage worker laboring full time for a year without a single sick day or vacation day is $15,080. That is $920 short of the $16,000 in annual fees required of members at Trump’s Mar-A-Lago Club in Florida.

But Trump thinks wages are too high. He has no idea what a $7.25-an-hour life is.

After the debate, in an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Trump went further, making it clear, that as a rich man, he didn’t care, either, that all workers’ wages had stagnated for years even as their productivity steadily rose.

No worker should get a raise, he told “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski.

“Our wages are too high. We have to compete with other countries,” the really, really rich man told Brzezinski.

The guy born to wealth and privilege said that the skilled electrician who is still paying off his trade school loans and who goes out in ice storms to repair lines for $58,000 a year is paid too much. The rich guy whose father handed him a $1 million loan to start his business says that the woman who scrimped and strived to be the first in her family to graduate from college and now works as an emergency room nurse saving lives makes too much at $68,000 a year.

Their wages are too high, Trump said. Gotta cut ‘em to compete with China. A race to the bottom is what Trump has in mind. For working people, that is. Not for really, really rich guys like him. They’re exempted, of course. Like they’re exempted from those annoying airport security lines.

Trump’s reasoning is the same as Mitt Romney’s. Remember Mitt “Corporations are people, my friend” Romney? The two rich guys have the same values. That is, they value corporations over people.

Trump explained shortly after the November debate that he intended to stiff the working poor because business was more important to him. He would stand strong against raising the minimum wage, he said, because “our country is losing business.”

Trump didn’t say that CEO million-dollar paychecks should be cut. He didn’t say the tens of billions handed out in Wall Street bonuses should be eliminated. No way. Those are the perks of his buddies, the rich guys he hangs out with at Mar-A-Lago. He specified only that the pay of poor people was too high.

All that big money at the top could actually be meaningful to minimum-wage workers. For example, in 2014, the $28.5 billion in bonuses handed out on Wall Street was twice the annual pay for the 1 million Americans who worked full-time at the $7.25 minimum wage.

The 167,800 Wall Streeters who grabbed those billions actually did pretty crappy work too. Wall Street profits declined 4.5 percent. That’s the kind of job that would get a minimum-wage worker fired, not rewarded.

So when the rich like Trump do badly, they get more money. When low-wage workers faithfully perform their jobs, Trump says, “Give them less money!”

Now that the really, really rich guy is the presumptive nominee, however, he’s double-talking. On NBC’s “Meet The Press,” he told Chuck Todd that he’s become sympathetic to minimum wage workers, but he’s not going to do anything about their plight. Here is what he said:

“I have seen what’s going on. And I don’t know how people make it on $7.25 an hour. Now, with that being said, I would like to see an increase of some magnitude. But I’d rather leave it to the states. Let the states decide.”

So, ok, it’s hard. Some minimum wage workers are homeless. They work, butsleep on the street. Virtually all survive only with the help of taxpayer-funded public benefits like food stamps, Medicaid and public housing. So they’re the victims of scorn, despite laboring full-time.

Maybe it’s not right. But a President Donald Trump is not going to lift a finger to help minimum wage workers. If workers happen to live in a state that wants to let corporations exploit employees, a President Trump wouldn’t intervene to save workers’ day.

This is a really, really rich guy completely oblivious to the anxieties of American families – including the ultimate nightmare of a boss shouting, “You’re fired!” This is a guy who told a reporter that no one has done as much for equality as he has because he opened his Mar-A-Lago Club to everyone – a club requiring a $100,000 initiation fee – a fee nearly twice the average annual earnings of an American worker.

This is not a man of the people. This is no working man’s champion. Just like Mitt, this is a really, really rich guy for rich guys.

Jeanie Forrester’s Economic Plan? Lower Wages for Granite Staters

Image from @OFA_NH pic.twitter.com/ZG7B0GfERQ

Image from @OFA_NH pic.twitter.com/ZG7B0GfERQ

Concord, N.H. – Today, State Senator and gubernatorial candidate Jeanie Forrester pitted herself squarely against hard-working Granite Staters looking for better wages and a higher quality of life.

Asked whether she would sign a bill raising New Hampshire’s minimum wage—currently tied for having the lowest minimum wage in the nation — Forrester said, “I would not. I believe that government should stay out of what a business does.”

Forrester voted to repeal New Hampshire’s minimum wage in 2011 and voted against an increase as recently as February. While Forrester’s so-called economic plan acknowledges that “wages have been relatively flat over the past decade,” her record and her new push today to abolish the minimum wage would only make things worse for hardworking Granite Staters. 

“Jeanie Forrester’s outrageous opposition to raising the minimum wage reveals she’s sticking to the same failed, discredited trickle-down economic policies of the past that devastated our economy and the middle class,” said NHDP Chair Ray Buckley. “The GOP primary is fast becoming a contest over who can recklessly become closest to far-right ideology and show how out-of-touch they are with mainstream Granite Staters.”

The US Chamber Of Commerce Releases New Legislative Guide To Steal Workers Rights

Chamber of Commerce Labor Report

The US Chamber of Commerce releases a new legislative guide with suggested legislation gut workers rights and block union organizing efforts.

 

If you ever thought the US Chamber of Commerce was working on your behalf, man were you wrong. Their only agenda is to screw workers out of their rights so they can maximize their corporate member’s profit margins.

Yesterday, the US Chamber of Commerce released their 2016 “Tools for Growth” report that details how states can reform their labor laws to “promote a favorable business climate.”

The report is basically a guideline for state legislators to push anti-union, anti-worker legislation that serves to line the pockets of wealthy business owners and corporate executives.

These laws are not designed to help workers in any way. They are intended to weaken or outright break unions by attempting to legislate away our rights.

Here are just a few of their legislative goals in their “Tools for Growth:”

  • Passing Right to Work – A law that does provide any benefit to jobs or the economy and has only been proven to lower wages.
  • Prohibiting City Ordinances to Raise the Minimum Wage – This legislation would make it illegal for any city or township to raise the minimum wage above the state’s minimum wage. Dozens of cities have already enacted higher minimum wages including New York City, Sea-Tac, and San Francisco to combat the high cost of living in these cities.
  • Legislating a reversal of the NLRB’s “Franchise” decision – The NLRB ruled that corporations could be held accountable for labor law violations in franchised shops.
  • Banning Project Labor Agreements – PLA’s ensure that workers are paid a fair wage, provided healthcare and retirement options, and ensure strong workplace safety protections and workmen’s compensation insurance.
  • Legislating away workers rights to organize and demonstrate – This includes multiple legislative reforms like: Prohibiting card check agreements, prohibiting union-management neutrality agreements, and prohibiting mass picketing [strikes, boycotts, picketing businesses for any reason, or any other demonstration intended to bring harm or attention to a specific business].

This report is nothing more than a legislative roadmap on how to screw workers, allowing corporations to further line their pockets with our lost wages.

The majority of their supporting evidence and legislative proposals in this new report are backed by, none other than the National Right To Work Legal Defense Foundation, who have spent years trying to block unions and limit workers rights.

The US Chamber of Commerce will stop at nothing to prevent workers from organizing and forming unions and fighting for higher wages.

Trump’s Conflicting Statements About Business Taxes Leading To Offshoring And Raising The Minimum Wage

Donald Trump (Image by Gage Skidmore FLIKR CC)

Donald Trump (Image by Gage Skidmore FLIKR CC)

In typical Trump fashion, Donald Trump says one thing but really means another.

Over the weekend Donald Trump went on Meet The Press where he talked about his tax “proposal” and the minimum wage.  Trump’s tax proposal would of course save him millions in his taxes, even though he said wealthy “people like me” could handle paying more in taxes.

He also stated businesses are leaving the United States because we have the highest business tax burden.  Businesses are not leaving because of high taxes, they are leaving because their biggest expense, labor itself, can be purchased in other countries are drastically reduced prices.  Corporations move overseas to avoid paying minimum wage standards set by state and the federal governments.

Case in point: Carrier is closing their factory in Indianapolis, Indiana and moving to Mexico.  Workers and elected leaders revolted over the idea that Carrier would toss aside 1,400 workers in this “business decision.” Workers tried to negotiate with Carrier to keep their jobs.  Carrier’s response: “they could possibly stay if the workers agreed to cut their pay from about $23 an hour to $5.85 an hour.”

Yes, Carrier is willing to stay if workers are willing to work below the federal minimum wage and give up nearly $17 an hour in wages.  Even with our “high business tax rate” corporations can still make huge profits by hiring workers in other countries and then exporting their goods back to the United States.

This is a product of multiple bad trade agreements that exploit foreign workers and allow corporations to skirt U.S. laws and taxes.  A fair trade agreement would make it more appealing for corporations to manufacture and distribute their products from inside the U.S. giving the advantage to American workers. Sadly that is not the current case.

In the interview on Meet The Press we can see that Trump recently changed his view on the Minimum Wage.  Before he was opposed to raising it at all even implying that we should eliminate the minimum wage. Now he believes we should raise the Minimum Wage but that it should be done by the states, not the federal government.

This is the political equivalent of punting.  By saying the states should set the Minimum Wage, Trump is trying to absolve himself of any responsibility for raising the Minimum Wage.  The old “it’s a state’s rights issue” defense.

The fact is that states’ already have the ability to raise their own state Minimum Wage but have failed to take any action to raise the floor for millions of low-wage workers.  They would rather see hard working Americans living in poverty and relying on government assistance that take action to raise the Minimum Wage.

We need the next Congress and the next President to take strong swift action to raise the minimum wage because the state’s are completely unwilling to do what is right. You cannot be the leader of the nation if you are not willing to lead on issues like Minimum Wage.

Watch Donald Trump try to explain away his contradictions on taxes and the minimum wage.

Arnie Alpert: The Fight For $15 Comes To Concord

Fight For 15 NH

By Arnie Alpert on the InZane Times

The movement of fast-food workers demanding wages of at least $15 an hour made a spirited visit to Concord, New Hampshire this afternoon.

About 35 workers and allies chanted and marched down Loudon Road from HazenP5050187 Drive to East Side Drive and back again on the other side.  The route took us past Dunkin Donuts, McDonalds, KFC, Burger King, Wendy’s, and other establishments that currently depend on low-wage workers. 

The Granite State actually abolished its minimum wage in 2011, which means that the base pay for most workers is $7.25 an hour, the federal minimum.  The base pay for tipped workers is even less.  Attempts every year since then to restore the minimum wage and raise it have been unsuccessful, largely due to effective lobbying by trade associations of businesses that pay low wages.

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“You can’t survive on $7.25.  Live free or die!” was one of the chants.

Others included “Hey McDonalds, you can’t hide, we can see your greedy side.”  P5050127(The names of other businesses can be substituted.) 

The marchers went inside at KFC, where they chanted for several minutes before leaving voluntarily.  At McDonalds we were locked out.  Several members of the Concord Police Department met up with us at Burger King, where they explained the rules regarding trespass and disorderly conduct to labor organizers who no doubt were already familiar with the law.   

P5050142 (2)Today’s demonstration was organized by SEIU Local 1984, the Granite State Organizing Project, and the United Valley Interfaith Project.

GSOP and UVIP have been holding monthly “Fight for $15” protests in Concord, Manchester, Nashua,P5050098 and West Lebanon, but typically with smaller groups and a less confrontational approach.  The monthly actions generally take place on the 15th of the month.   

For more information, contact

GSOP at 603-668-8250 orhttp://granitestateorganizing.org/

UVIP at 603-443-3682 or http://www.unitedvalleyinterfaithproject.org

More photos: 

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