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The Economic Policy Institute Unveils Their ‘Women’s Economic Agenda’

New ‘Women’s Economic Agenda’ focuses on closing the wage gap between men and woman while lifting the wages of all workers 


We need an economy that works for everyone not just a select few. Research shows that we are putting working women, specifically women of color, at a severe disadvantage.

We already know that women on average only earn $.70 cents on the dollar compared to men in the same job. The wage gap harms a woman’s chance of economic prosperity and slows economic growth.

The wage gap is closing, however this is not all good news. From 1980 to the present the wage gap has gone from 62% to 82% of men’s wages. On the surface this would appear to be great news, except that 40% of the gains, made by women to close the wage gap, actually came from the fact that men’s wages are falling. The average wage for men dropped from $20.13 in 1980 to $18.35 today.

Ensuring that all workers are paid equally for equal work is important, but that should not be due to the fact that men’s wages are falling. We need to lift all the wages of all workers together.

Today, the Economic Policy Institute released its Women’s Economic Agenda, a set of 12 bold yet achievable proposals that push the discussion about women’s economic security beyond closing the gender wage gap. While closing the gap between men and women’s wages is essential to bring genuine economic security to women and their families, policymakers must do more. Policies in the agenda include raising the minimum wage, ending discriminatory practices that contribute to gender inequality, providing paid family leave, and increasing access to high-quality child care. If implemented, these policies could raise women’s wages by as much as 70 percent.

“Raising wages and boosting economic security for women is an essential part of growing and strengthening America’s middle class,” said Senator Elizabeth Warren, who spoke at the agenda’s unveiling. “The proposals in EPI’s Women’s Economic Agenda would be powerful steps forward in the fight to level the playing field for women and families across the country.”

“The gender wage gap is only one way the economy shortchanges women,” said Alyssa Davis research assistant for the Economic Policy Institute. “Only when we take a holistic approach to women’s wages and seek to eliminate both the gender wage gap and the economic inequality gap will women reach their potential in the economy.”

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The full complement of policies in the Women’s Economic Agenda is:

  1. Raise the minimum wage—raising the federal minimum wage to $12 by 2020 would boost wages for one-fourth of the workforce, or 35 million working people—56 percent of whom are women.
  2. Eliminate the tipped minimum wage—two-thirds of tipped workers are women, yet they still make less than their male counterparts. At the median, women tipped workers make $10.07 per hour, while men make $10.63 (including tips).
  3. Strengthen collective bargaining rights—women in unions are more likely to be paid higher wages and have access to benefits such as paid sick days and pensions.
  4. End discriminatory practices that contribute to race and gender inequalities—black women earn 65.4 percent and Hispanic women earn 56.5 percent of white men’s hourly earnings.
  5. Provide paid family leave—only 12 percent of private-sector employees have access to paid family leave. Without paid family leave policies, workers (particularly women) have difficulty balancing the demands of work and family.
  6. Provide paid sick leave—ensuring that working women can earn paid sick time would let them meet their responsibilities at work and at home without compromising their family’s economic security.
  7. Require fair scheduling practices—over one-third of women hourly workers in their prime childrearing years receive their work schedules with advance notice of one week or less.
  8. Provide accessible, affordable, high-quality child care and early childhood education—accessible child care would ensure that parents do not need to choose between leaving the labor force and affording quality child care
  9. Protect and expand Social Security—the average female retiree receives over $300 less per Social Security check than her male counterpart.
  10. Provide undocumented workers a path to citizenship—women are concentrated in many occupations likely to be held by undocumented workers.
  11. Support strong enforcement of labor standards—women are more likely than men to be victims of wage theft, and are a majority of workers who would benefit from expanded overtime protections.
  12. Prioritize wage growth and very low unemployment when making monetary policy—better wage growth is crucial to ensuring that gender and racial wage gaps close for the right reasons, with wages rising for all groups but more rapidly for groups currently disadvantaged in labor markets.

At Raising Wages Summit The “Voices Of Workers” Highlight The Struggles Of Working Families

The first ever New Hampshire Raising Wages Summit was held in Concord on Saturday. The summit, a policy discussion with a focus on the importance of raising wages, drew more than 200 people to hear a whole host of speakers.

The headliners, Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, both spoke about raising the minimum wage and the affects of the proposed TPP on workers.

Interlaced between the headliners was what organizers referred to as the “Voices of Workers.” The Voices of Workers were short speeches from local workers and union activists.

Deb Howes, a Nashua teacher and American Federation of Teachers member, talked about the impact of our current low-wage employment system on the children in her classroom. She explained how living in poverty affects a child’s ability to learn, and chastised politicians who want to take away free lunch programs that ensure that children can get at least one healthy meal a day.

Howes is also the chairwoman of the Nashua Labor Coalition that is currently building momentum against the proposed privatization of AFSCME custodians in the Nashua School District. At the summit Howes stated, “eliminating good paying jobs for low-wage contractors will only hurt our community.”

(video link)

The elimination of good paying jobs was the forefront of the Fairness at FairPoint campaign as International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and Communication Workers of America (CWA) members spent months on strike last winter.

James Lemay, an IBEW member and FairPoint employee spoke about how hard it was for workers during the strike. He talked about how the company did not seem to care about the workers or bargaining in good faith with the union, they only cared their stock prices and earnings statements.

After months on strike the IBEW and CWA reached an agreement with FairPoint and workers could finally go back to work.

(video link)

Janice Kelble, a retired postal worker and American Postal Workers Union member, talk about her struggles bouncing from job to job and the discrimination she endured as a low-wage worker.   Even though it has been a number of years since Kelble was living on minimum wage, the fact is that her story could have been told by any low-wage work struggling to survive on today’s poverty wages.

Kelble eventually got a job with the USPS service where she immediately joined the union, became a steward and began her unofficial career as an advocate for workers.

Kelble said she often wonders how different her life would have been if not for her good paying union job.

(video link)

As Kelble pointed out it has been many years since she had to survive on minimum wage, that is not the case for recent Manchester high school graduate Adol Mashut.

As an immigrant, a woman, and a recent graduate she has quickly learned how hard it is to live on minimum wage. Mashut struggles to balance her work and college classes in hopes to get a degree that will allow her to get a better paying job in the future.

Mashut is also the product of an amazing community outreach program called the Granite State Organizing Project. GSOP is a faith based, non-profit that helps immigrants and low-income families through mentoring and assistance. GSOP continues to push for policies that help working families like raising the minimum wage and expanding access to affordable healthcare and opposes policies like “title loans” that charge people upwards of 400% for an emergency loan.


(video link)

Mashut is working and taking classes in the hopes of acquiring a college degree, but college is not for everyone. Thanks to unions there is still a way for workers to learn a valuable skill and work their way into the middle class.

Samantha Novotny is starting her second year as an apprentice with the IBEW local 490 in Concord. “The union provides great classroom training as well as on-the-job training and work experience,” she said.

As she progresses in her apprentice training she will continue to gain more certifications and real world experience which will ultimately result in higher pay and the chance to start saving for her retirement.

Novotny recently became “sworn in” as an official member of the IBEW. “I truly feel that I am setting myself up for a long-lasting and successful career,” said Novotny.

(video link)


While many of these Voices of Workers’ stories were positive, the reality of low-wage workers is not as bright and shiny. Many are living paycheck to paycheck working 50 to 60 hours a week between multiple jobs with little to no hope for the future.

Millions of people across the country are living in poverty due to the fact that we have failed to ensure that their hard work will actually pay the bills.

As the 2016 elections continue to ramp up, we need to ensure that every candidate, from Presidential to State Representative to Mayoral will work to raise the minimum wage and help lift these workers out of poverty.


Please read our other stories about the Raising Wages Summit

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka Addresses the NH Raising Wages Summit

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro Inspires The Crowd At The NH Raising Wages Summit

Governor Hassan Will Continue To Fight To Raise Wages and Expand Middle Class Opportunity

How Raising Wages Effects Seniors and Social Security, a speech by NH Alliance for Retired Americans President Lucy Edwards.



Congress Votes Tomorrow On Everything That Will Happen For The Rest Of Obama’s Presidency

Congress West Front Late last night, House GOP leadership announced a compromise bill that will (temporarily) end all the Congress-created crises by setting the federal budget and suspending the debt limit through the end of the Obama presidency.

The House is expected to vote on the bill tomorrow (Wednesday). A draft of the bill is available here.

What it doesn’t do, from the perspective of the Right Wing:

  1. It doesn’t try to force through the Keystone XL Pipeline.
  2. It doesn’t try to de-fund Planned Parenthood.
  3. It doesn’t try to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
  4. It doesn’t try to voucherize Medicare.
  5. It doesn’t try to privatize Social Security.

What it doesn’t do, from the perspective of the Working Class:

  1. It doesn’t rein in corporate giveaways to stockholders, such as dividends and buybacks. (Trillions of dollars that corporations could have used to create jobs, pay fair wages and make long-term investments.)
  2. It doesn’t end the tax preference for unearned income. (Most investment income is still taxed at about half the rate of wage income.) Ending this tax preference could end the budget deficit.
  3. It doesn’t eliminate the Social Security wage cap (which would strengthen Social Security, long-term).
  4. It doesn’t raise the minimum wage.
  5. In its current form, it doesn’t do much to reverse previous cuts to Food Stamps, veterans benefits, and other safety-net programs. It doesn’t mention the 2.1 million American workers who are long-term unemployed… or the 1-in-five American children who are living in poverty.

What it does do:

  1. It loosens the Sequester budget restrictions, both for defense and non-defense spending – and it also increases an off-budget military spending account.
  2. It completely rewrites the procedures governing IRS audits of business partnerships. (Call me cynical, but I’m guessing that part of the bill was written by somebody’s lobbyist.)
  3. It diverts some Social Security tax revenue into the Social Security Disability Trust Fund, and *privacy alert* it also creates a new information clearinghouse (presumably, to be used to detect fraud).
  4. It reduces payments to some Medicare providers and regulates the increase in Medicare supplement policy premiums.
  5. It renames the small House rotunda… in honor of the House Freedom Caucus.

It does some other things. Please take the time to read through the bill yourself – and encourage your Congressional representatives to do the same. Contact information for those representatives is available here.


Having watched this impossibly deadlocked Congress — and its impossibly intransigent Right Wing

Personally, if this “grand compromise” happens, I don’t expect anything else to get through this Congress until President Obama leaves office.  (Remember, GOP extremists have been working to “submarine his presidency” since the very first day of his first term.)

Emily’s List Puts NH Congressman Frank Guinta “On Notice”

Image from Emily's List http://republicansonnotice.tumblr.com/

Image from Emily’s List http://republicansonnotice.tumblr.com/

In addition to being one of the most corrupt members of Congress, Frank Guinta is also one of the worst when it comes to supporting policies that are dangerous to women and families.

Here are six reasons why EMILY’s List is putting Congressman Frank Guinta “On Notice”:

  1. Guinta Supported an Abortion Ban. In May 2015, Guinta voted for a bill that would prohibit abortions in cases where the probable age of the fetus is 20 weeks or later and would impose criminal penalties on doctors who violate the ban. It would provide exceptions for cases in which the woman’s life is in danger as well as for pregnancies that are a result of rape if, as amended, for pregnancies that are a result of rape against an adult woman, the woman received counseling or medical treatment for the rape at least 48 hours prior to the abortion. An exception would be provided for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest against a minor if the rape or incest had been previously reported to law enforcement or another government agency authorized to act on reports of child abuse. [HR 36, Vote #223, 5/13/15;CQ Floor Votes]
  2. Guinta Supported Ban of Abortion with “No Exceptions.” “In response to two questions on abortion, Guinta said he is pro-life, and, were a repeal to Roe v. Wade come up while he was serving in Congress, he would vote for a no-holds barred ban on abortion with ‘no exceptions.’” [Foster’s Daily Democrat, 8/11/10]
  3. Guinta Cosponsored Legislation That Would Allow Employers to Deny Birth Control Coverage. In February 2012, Guinta cosponsored the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act, which would “permit a health plan to decline coverage of specific items and services that are contrary to the religious beliefs of the sponsor, issuer, or other entity offering the plan or the purchaser or beneficiary.” [HR 1179, 2/08/12]
  4. Guinta Found Guilty of Violating Campaign Finance Laws by the FEC, Fined $15,000. “After five years of denying allegations of wrongdoing related to his 2010 campaign, Guinta was found by the Federal Election Commission to have violated campaign finance laws by accepting $355,000 in illegal contributions from his parents. The two-term congressman, who was defeated in 2012 but narrowly beat Democratic Rep. Carol Shea-Porter in 2014, has said the money he used for his first campaign was also his, though disclosure forms suggested he didn’t have the money. Guinta maintained he made a reporting error and did nothing illegal. Now, he must refund the six-figure sum to his parents, and pay a $15,000 fine.” [Roll Call, 5/18/15]
  5. Guinta Voted Multiple Times Against Raising the State Minimum Wage in New Hampshire. During his time in the New Hampshire state House, Guinta voted multiple times against raising the state’s minimum wage. In April 2001, Guinta voted against a bill that would have increased New Hampshire’s minimum wage. The bill increased the minimum wage from $5.15 per hour to $5.65 as of October 1, 2001. It then increased the wage to $6.15 on October 1, 2002. Guinta’s vote was in favor of a report by the Labor Committee declaring the bill ‘inexpedient to legislate,’ effectively killing the bill. The report killing the bill passed 170-163. A motion was made to again declare the bill ‘inexpedient to legislate,’ effectively killing the wage increase. Guinta voted in favor of the motion to kill the bill, which failed 166-184. Finally, a motion was made to approve the bill. Guinta voted against the bill, which passed 196-153. [HB 469, Vote #92, 4/26/01;HB 469, Vote #117, 5/17/01; HB 469, Vote #118, 5/17/01]
  6. Guinta Named One of CREW’s Most Corrupt Members of Congress in 2010. “Most Corrupt: Representative Frank Guinta. Representative Frank Guinta (R-NH) is a first-term member of Congress, representing New Hampshire’s 1stcongressional district. Rep. Guinta’s ethics issues stem from his failure to accurately disclose assets on his personal financial disclosure forms and possibly accepting improper gifts or loans.” [CREW, 2010]


EMILY’s List Puts New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte “On Notice”

Kelly Ayotte

Image from Emily’s List http://republicansonnotice.tumblr.com/

WASHINGTON D.C. – EMILY’s List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, put New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte “On Notice” for 2016. “On Notice” is a list of incumbent Republicans at all levels of government who will be held accountable for their anti-woman, anti-family records in the 2016 elections. 

“Senator Kelly Ayotte has proven time and again that her extreme Republican colleagues can depend on her to help them advance their anti-woman agenda and to stand with them in the way of policies that give working families a fair shot,” said Stephanie Schriock, president of EMILY’s List. “No matter how much Senator Ayotte tries to whitewash her record, there’s no escaping the fact that she opposes raising the minimum wage, refused to support paid leave for working families, voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act four times, cosponsored and voted for legislation to defund Planned Parenthood, and introduced legislation that would make affordable birth control less accessible even for women with health insurance. Senator Ayotte is a staunch supporter of policies that are downright dangerous for women and families in New Hampshire and across the country, and that’s why EMILY’s List is putting her ‘On Notice.’”

Sen. Ayotte’s Record:

Introduced GAP Act, Which Would Not Strengthen Equal Pay Laws and Weaken Protections for Employees. “And then, just for kitten-heel kicks, she and some of her fellow lady Republicans introduced their own adorable ‘Equal Pay’ bill, which wouldn’t actually strengthen equal pay laws so much as weaken them by creating extra loopholes for employers. It’s like the same thing, only different.” [Wonkette, 10/15/15] 

(1) Voted Against the Paycheck Fairness Act. In June 2012, Ayotte voted against a procedural vote to move forward with S. 3220, Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill that would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (also known as the Equal Pay Act), “to revise remedies for, enforcement of, and exceptions to prohibitions against sex discrimination in the payment of wages.” The Paycheck Fairness Act would require a clarification in reasons for differences in wages paid to men and women doing the same work. The motion was rejected 52-47. [S. 3220, Vote #115, 6/05/12] 

(2) Again…Voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act. In April 2014, Ayotte voted against a motion to address the Paycheck Fairness Act. According to Congressional Quarterly the vote was a “Motion to invoke cloture (thus limiting debate) on the Reid, D-Nev., motion to proceed to the bill that would require employers to demonstrate that wage gaps between men and women with similar qualifications and in similar jobs have a business justification. It would prohibit employers from retaliating against employees who share salary information and authorize the Labor secretary to seek additional compensatory or punitive damages in a sex discrimination action. The bill also would require the Labor Department to provide training and collect wage information.” The motion was rejected by a vote of 53-44. [S 2199, Vote #103, 4/09/14]

(3) And again…Voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act. In September 2014, Ayotte voted against a bill to strengthen federal equal pay laws for women. [S. 2199, Vote #262, 9/15/14]                                                       

(4) And again. In March 2015, Ayotte voted against Senator Mikulski’s proposal to “establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to amending the Equal Pay Act of 1963 to allow for punitive damages, limit the any factor ‘other than sex’ exception, and prohibit retaliation against employees who share salary information.” The amendment failed 45-54. [S. Con. Res. 11, Vote #82, 3/24/15] 

Voted for Blunt Amendment, Extreme Legislation Allowing Employers to Deny Health Care Coverage for Moral or Religious Reasons. In March 2012, Ayotte voted against tabling S. Amdt. 1520, also known as the Blunt amendment. The amendment would amend the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to “protect the rights of conscious with regard to requirements for specific items and services.” In other words, employers would be able to deny health care coverage for moral or religious objections. The amendment was attached to S. 1813, MAP-21, a transportation reauthorization bill. The motion passed 51-48. [S. Amdt. 1520 to S. 1813, Vote #24, 3/01/12] 

Cosponsored and Voted for a Bill to Defund Planned Parenthood. In July 2015, Ayotte signed onto a bill to end federal funding to Planned Parenthood. In August 2015, she voted for the defunding measure. The motion to proceed did not pass 53-46. [S. 1881, Vote #262, 8/03/15; Cosponsored 7/29/15] 

Ayotte Argued That Roe v. Wade Should Be Overturned. According to the Nashua Telegraph, “Ayotte said the landmark Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion should be overturned, but states should regulate abortion rather than adopt a constitutional change.” [Nashua Telegraph8/20/10] 

Voted for a National Abortion Ban. In September 2015, Ayotte voted for a bill that would prohibit abortions in cases where the probable age of the fetus is 20 weeks or later and would impose criminal penalties on doctors who violate the ban. It would provide exceptions for cases in which the woman’s life is in danger as well as for pregnancies that are a result of rape if, as amended, for pregnancies that are a result of rape against an adult woman, the woman received counseling or medical treatment for the rape at least 48 hours prior to the abortion. An exception would be provided for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest against a minor if the rape or incest had been previously reported to law enforcement or another government agency authorized to act on reports of child abuse. [HR 36, Vote #268, 9/22/15] 

In 2010, Ayotte Opposed Employers Offering Paid Sick Leave to Workers. According to the Nashua Telegraph, “Hodes endorsed raising the minimum wage to include increases in cost-of-living, giving unions the option of organizing by collecting names of supporters rather than through a secret ballot vote and mandating employers offer paid sick leave to their workers. Ayotte opposed all three proposed changes in federal labor laws.” [Nashua Telegraph, 9/23/10]

2014: Ayotte Voted Against Bill to Increase the Federal Minimum Wage To $10.10. [S. 2223, Vote #117, 4/30/14] 

  • Increasing the Federal Minimum Wage to $10.10 Would Have Meant a Raise for More than 100k Workers in New Hampshire. Increasing the federal minimum wage to $10.10 would mean a raise for 113,000 New Hampshire workers. [Economic Policy Institute12/19/13]

2015: Ayotte Voted Against an Increase in the Minimum Wage. [S.Amdt. 881 to S.Con.Res. 11, Vote #93, 3/26/15] 

The “On Notice” list can be found at http://republicansonnotice.tumblr.com and EMILY’s List will be communicating about those on the list to its network of over three million members nationwide. “On Notice” will continue to be updated throughout the election cycle and will feature incumbents at all levels of government who have exhibited extreme anti-woman and anti-family positions through statements, policy, and voting records. 

EMILY’s List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, has raised over $400 million to support pro-choice Democratic women candidates – making it one of the most successful political organizations ever. We recruit and train candidates, support strong campaigns, research women’s issues, and turn out women voters. We’ve trained over 9,000 women to run and helped elect over 100 women to the House, 19 to the Senate, 11 governors, and over 700 to state and local office. Since its founding in 1985, almost one-third of the candidates EMILY’s List has helped elect to Congress have been women of color – including every single Latina, African American, and Asian American Democratic congresswoman currently serving.

Raising The Minimum Wage Is Long Overdue

moon design studio co. presents

I used to say, “It is time to raise the minimum wage.” However that moment has passed and we are seriously behind the 8-ball. We must raise the minimum wage now to help the millions nation-wide who are suffering through life, in poverty, working 40,50, even 60 hours a week.

Right now the National Minimum Wage law is set at $7.25 an hour, and that is completely unacceptable. People are working more hours now than at any point in our history and yet they are still losing ground as Congress and our State Legislatures fail to increase the minimum wage.

Just look at this image from the Economic Policy Institute that shows if the minimum wage would have kept up with productivity they would be earning over $18.00 an hour.


Over 50,000 Granite Staters are earning at or below the Federal Minimum Wage, yet our Republican controlled Senate refuses to raise the NH Minimum Wage.

The economists at MIT calculated what a “living wage” would be in New Hampshire and the results are staggering. A single worker would need to earn $11.51 an hour. If your break that down to todays numbers that is almost 60 hours a week at $7.25 an hour. But it gets much worse. A single parent working would need to earn $24.66 an hour. That equates to about 137 hours a week at minimum wage. Considering there is only 168 in a week, that would leave a whopping 31 hours a week to sleep, raise their child, cook, clean, grocery shop, and whatever else needs to be done.

I know what your thinking, “the minimum wage is for teenagers and part-time employees.” You would be half right, because the majority of these workers are considered part time, not because they do not want to work full time, but because their employer refuses to make them full time to avoid having to pay for any healthcare or retirement options.

As for being only teenagers, yes teenagers make up a quarter (24%) of the minimum wage workforce, but how many of these teenagers are working at Dunkin Donuts at 8 am on a Tuesday? Not many because most of them are still in school.

The fact is that another 25% of minimum wage workers are between 20-24 and 50% of minimum wage workers are over 25. In 2013 it was reported that 27.9% of those effected by raising the minimum wage to $10.10, are parents raising at least one child.

It is time to take action. The New Hampshire AFL-CIO will be hosting a “Raising Wages Summit” with special guest speaker, Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO.

Raising Wages SummitThe summit will include information sessions and workshops designed to expand your knowledge of who is effected by raising the minimum wage, how to talk to legislators (and your crazy Uncle Joe) about why it is important to raising the minimum wage, and to start building a coalition of activists who will stand up for working families here in the Granite State.

The Raising Wages Summit will be held at the IBEW 490 Hall, 48 Airport Road, Concord, NH, on Saturday November 7th, from 9:30a-1:30p.

(More information can be found on the NH AFL-CIO’s Facebook event, or by contacting Judy Stadtman at the New Hampshire AFL-CIO, (603) 632-7302 x19 or email 2015wagesummit@nhaflcio.org.)

American Family Voices Campaign To Unite Progressives On Economic Agenda

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Sherrod Brown,
Rep. Raul Grijalva, progressive movement advocates, and business leaders
make the argument for a progressive economic agenda.


Washington, D.C. — Today, American Family Voices is launching a new campaign uniting progressive politicians, movement advocates, and socially conscious business leaders to make the argument for a progressive economic agenda, with the video release of “Fairness AND Growth: the Progressive Economic Alternative.” On Friday, October 2nd, AFV, in collaboration with State Innovation Exchange, will convene the “Forging an Alliance Between Progressive Leaders and Socially Conscious Businesses” conference to advance this agenda.

What does such an agenda look like? To make an expanding and prosperous middle class the engine of our economy again, we support ending corporate welfare and closing tax loopholes; increasing wages and strengthening working families; protecting the dignity of retirement by strengthening Social Security and Medicare; investing in infrastructure, education, and green energy to create more jobs; and taming the power of Wall Street.

Our video features exclusive interviews with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Sherrod Brown, Rep. Raul Grijalva, Dr. Gabriela Lemus of Progressive Congress, Damon Silvers of the AFL-CIO, Deepak Bhargava of Center for Community Change, Khalid Pitts of USAction, small business owner MaryAnne Howland, New Resource Bank President Vince Siciliano, and economist Mike Konczal of the Roosevelt Institute, and quotes from Pope Francis, Richard Trumka, and Robert Reich.

The president of American Family Voices, Mike Lux, said, “Together, these voices tell the story of how a movement is rising once again to create an economy that raises working families up instead of enriching wealthy elites — an economy based on a prosperous and expanding middle class, not a trickle-down fantasy.”

Since the beginning of 2015, a variety of organizations and individuals have promoted a progressive economic agenda:


Alliance for a Just Society

American Family Voices

Campaign for America’s Future

Center for Community Change

Center for Popular Democracy

Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights


National People’s Action

Progressive Change Campaign Committee

Progressive Congress

Roosevelt Institute

The Progressive Agenda Coalition


Working Families Party

“The emperor has no clothes: Reaganomics simply doesn’t work for the majority of Americans,” said AFV Executive Director Lauren Windsor. “This country was not built to be a serfdom. We need a progressive economic agenda to ensure we don’t become one.”

NH CD-01 Candidate Pledges If Elected, To Only Be Paid Minimum Wage Until We Reach $15 A Hour

O’Connor Unveils Innovative $15/hour Minimum Wage Plan that will Incrementally Raise the Minimum Wage from 2017 to 2021 and Protect Small Businesses through Tax Credits

O’Connor Challenges All Presidential Candidates and All Congressional Candidates Nationally to Join Him in Signing “The People’s Pledge”

Shawn O'Connor Signs Minimum Wage Pledge

MANCHESTER, N.H. –This morning, Shawn O’Connor, the only declared 2016 Democratic candidate for Congress in New Hampshire’s First Congressional District, committed, that on his first day in the House of Representatives, he will introduce legislation to incrementally raise the federal minimum wage (currently $7.25 or lower) for all Americans workers to $15 by 2021 (to $8.75 in 2017, $10.25 in 2018, $11.75 in 2019, $13.25 in 2020 and $15 in 2021). Thereafter, the minimum wage would be indexed to inflation.

To minimize any financial impact on small businesses, which represent 96% of New Hampshire employers, under the plan, each year, small businesses (those with 99 or fewer employees) would receive a tax credit equal to 50% of the annual incremental increase in their wages paid to minimum wage employees through 2021.

Shawns People PledgeO’Connor then signed a binding pledge, which he has denoted as “The People’s Pledge,” to accept only the minimum wage salary of $15,080 for his service in Congress until this legislation is enacted. A Citizens’ Commission, which will include Durham socially conscious investor, David Hills, Emma Ambrogi, a proud product of Manchester public schools and a senior at Wellesley College, and Vernis Jackson, a Portsmouth community leader who spearheaded the African Burying Ground Project, will distribute the remaining $158,920 of Shawn’s salary to New Hampshire charities. O’Connor also pledged to pay all his campaign staff $15+/hour.

Finally, O’Connor issued a challenge to all Presidential and Congressional candidates to sign The People’s Pledge, saying “It is unconscionable for us to suggest that $15,080 is a liveable wage and then accept six figure salaries.”

New Hampshire AFL-CIO President Glenn Brackett declared “With his thoughtful proposal to pull tens of millions of workers out of poverty and his pledge to only accept the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 as his congressional salary until such legislation is passed, Shawn O’Connor demonstrates that he stands in solidarity with the working men and women in our country. His innovative ideas and advocacy on behalf of all workers would be a welcome change in Washington.”

State Senator David Watters of Dover, also offered his support, stating “I wholeheartedly support Shawn’s innovative and carefully considered plan to raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2021 while also protecting small businesses which are the lifeblood of our economy. I am very impressed by Shawn’s firm commitment to accept only the federal minimum wage for his work in Congress. Shawn is exactly the action-oriented, ethical leader for which the people of the First Congressional District have been clamoring.”

In Advance of Labor Day, Civil and Human Rights Coalition Optimistic for the Ascendant American Worker

Leadership Conference

WASHINGTON – Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement in advance of Labor Day:

“This Labor Day bears witness to an American worker on the rise. After a years-long unraveling of basic workforce protections, an expanding economy with contracting or stagnant wages, and a continuous widening of the wealth gap, the last 12 months have shown glimmers of hope for our nation.

Minimum wage increases have gone into effect in states across the country; cities are instituting living wage laws that will help families thrive in our economy; major retailers are beginning to raise wages and creating more fair work scheduling policies; states and corporations have ‘banned the box’ and allowed all applicants a fair chance to work; and updated federal regulations and NLRB rulings have created pathways toward a more dignified workplace for millions of Americans. 

But there is still so much work to be done in the year ahead.  The right to organize is still under attack in the states and at the Supreme Court; the President has not yet decided whether to issue a ‘ban the box’ executive order despite nationwide calls for action; and we have not yet passed laws to guarantee paycheck fairness for women, raise the federal minimum wage, outlaw employment discrimination for the LGBT community, or create a humane fix to our immigration crisis.

This Labor Day is a chance to reflect on the successes of the past year and the challenges ahead for the American worker. And while we certainly have much ground to make up and many fights ahead of us, we have many reasons to be optimistic that the future is bright for working Americans.” 

Wade Henderson is the president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its 200-plus member organizations, visit www.civilrights.org. 

Ahead Of Labor Day, NH AFL-CIO And NH Democrats Blast GOP Candidates Anti-Worker Agenda



Ahead of the holiday weekend dedicated to honoring the sacrifices made by workers, the NH AFL-CIO and the NH Democratic Party, blast Republicans over their failed and out of touch policies that harm working families.

Labor Day is the annual holiday to “celebrate the progress of American workers,” said NH AFL-CIO President Glenn Brackett. “American workers are what make our country great.”

Labor Day honors the decades of progress gained through the blood, sweat and tears of American workers who fought for policies like weekends, paid time off, sick days, maternity leave, social security, on the job safety programs like OSHA, and dozens of other policies that would never have been without American workers standing up for them.

Earlier this summer, Jeb Bush told the Union Leader that people just need to “work longer hours” showing just how out of touch he really is.

Americans are still suffering the effects of the Great Recession that stemmed from the failed policies of the George W Bush presidency and the deregulation of Wall Street.

Not to be outdone, Senator Rand Paul recently said, “Income inequality is from people not working hard enough,” and also said, “if you work all day long, you don’t have time to do heroin.”

American workers have pushed their productivity to the highest levels in history, yet all of those gains have gone to the wealthy instead of working families.

Many Americans have been forced to work two or even three jobs just to pay the bills as wages have declined over the last thirty years (adjusted for inflation). I highly doubt Jeb Bush has ever had to take on a second or third job to pay his bills.

NH Democratic Party Chair, Raymond Buckley, said that it is “Democrats who are fighting for working families.” Democrats are pushing for a higher minimum wage, equal pay for equal work, and protecting Social Security to ensure that workers can retire with dignity.

“Jeb Bush wants to “phase out” Medicare and John Kasich wants to change Social Security for those close to retirement age, jeopardizing their future. Not to mention failed Republican policies of the past that favor the wealthiest few and leave the middle class behind,” said Buckley.

In New Hampshire it is Republicans who blocked a minimum wage increase and now are holding the state hostage with their draconian budget that would repeal healthcare for 50,000 hard working Granite Staters, to preserve tax breaks from wealthy corporations.

Brackett highlighted that under President Obama’s leadership “America has had 64 straight months of private sector growth.’

“The GOP economic plan seems to be demanding that middle class workers work even longer, while refusing to do anything to help middle class workers and their families get ahead. If they keep this up, it won’t be difficult for hard-working Granite State families to see that putting the White House back in GOP hands would be a disaster for our middle class,” concluded Brackett.

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