News & Updates


  • Wednesday, November 6, 2013 Bangladesh Garment Workers Receive Minimum Wage Increase; Washington State City Gets $15 Minimum Wage; New York Elects First Democrat in 20 Years

    The Bangladesh garment industry has drawn global attention for its unsafe working conditions causing hundreds of deaths in the last several months. To make matters worse, the garment industry has the lowest paid workers in the world.  On Monday, a government panel voted to raise monthly wages for garment workers to 5,300 taka, which is about $68-a-month minimum wage.

    Bangladesh Takes Step to Increase Lowest Pay - New York Times

    Garment workers in Bangladesh are paid poorly, even with a raise, but they aren't the only workers that made progress this week. In SeaTac, residents voted on a ballot measure that created a $15-an-hour minimum wage. The approval of SeaTac Proposition 1 sent a clear message that workers can't survive off even the highest minimum wage in the country —minimum wage in Washington State is $9.19 -an-hour. "This means that the people who put fuel in jets may actually be able to buy a ticket on one,” said David Rolf,  vice president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). 

    Washington city votes to raise minimum wage to $15 - CNN

    On another good note, New York City's newly elected Mayor Bill de Blasio is the first Democrat to be elected in 20 years. “Tackling inequality isn’t easy. It never has been, and it never will be,” de Blasio said at a victory speech. Among many challenges, Mayor de Blasio will have to negotiate several city labor contracts that are due for renewal.

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  • Wednesday, October 23, 2013 Bad Jobs Report Leading up to Government Shutdown; CEO Pay Ratio Rule Shines Light into Income Inequality; 80 Wal-Mart Employees Walked Off

    The September employment report painted a disappointing economic picture of what is to come in the next month's report, which includes the economically damaging government shutdown. Luis Chiliquinga, who earns $8.35 an hour at the McDonald's inside the Air & Space Museum was locked out of his job during the shutdown. “Workers like me, we were already living day to day and paycheck to paycheck,” he said. 

    Delayed Jobs Report Finds U.S. Adding Only 148,000 Jobs - New York Times

    Corporate management doesn't want to admit it, but the CEO pay ratio rule -- recently proposed by the Securities and Exchange Commission -- will help investors change corporate environment for the better.  And, more importantly, create greater public awareness surrounding America's income inequality issue.

    CEO-to-worker pay gap is obscene; want to know how obscene? - LA Times

    Last week, about 80 workers walked off their jobs at a Miami- area Wal-Mart to protest their cutback hours. Wal-Mart's human resource representative asked to meet with each unhappy employee individually, but the crowd of protestors answered back "all of us or none of us." 

    Walmart Workers Strike At Miami-Area Store - Huffington Post



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  • Friday, October 18, 2013 The Faces, the Voices and the People Impacted by the Government Shutdown

    John Anderson isn't a politician, he didn't choose to shutdown the government, and it wasn't his choice to close the American Indian Smithsonian Museum where he works as a line cook. He was one of the many low-wage government contract employees locked out of work; his hours were taken away and he will not receive pay back. Anderson wasn't alone in his struggles to pay his rent and put food on the table for his son. "I was living week to week" before the shutdown. Now I'm living day to day," Anderson said.

    Government Shutdown Wasn’t Bad for the Politicians.  It Was Terrible for This Guy. - The Washington Post

    “I’m only 18, and I’m not only taking care of myself, I’m taking care of my father and my sister,” Alexis Vasquez said. Vasquez works at the McDonald's inside of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, his hours were cut back after the busy tourism season ended, forcing him to take a second job. When the Government shutdown, he wasn't able to work and there was no guarantee he would have a job when the government reopened, forcing him yet again to search for a second job.

    Private-sector workers hurt by shutdown worry about job prospects (VIDEO) - Al Jazeera

    “The government shutdown and I wasn’t ready for it,” Fred Turner said. Fred Turner works at the eateries inside the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, he was locked out and won't receive back pay. Turner won't be able to afford his mortgage payment this month.

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  • Wednesday, October 9, 2013 Faith Leaders Demand Fair Pay and Justice for Low-wage Government Contact Workers; Another Deadly Factory Disaster in Bangladesh; Oracle's Pay Practices are Out of Control

    Creating good jobs through taxpayer dollars doesn’t just make good economic sense, it’s also morally right. So say leaders of several different faith denominations in the Washington Post. They ask President Obama to set an example and bring justice to these workers. Morality demands it. 

    COMMENTARY: Federal workers deserve a living wage - Washington Post/RNS/Daily Me

    It's upsetting to know the federal government allows contractors to pay workers poverty wages. But the recent tragedies happening in Bangladesh due to poor working conditions are catastrophic. On Tuesday, 10 people were killed and dozens injured in a fire that swept through a garment factory in Bangladesh. This isn't the country's first garment factory disaster, in April the Rana Plaza factory in Savar collapsed killing 1,100 people and in November of 2012, at least 111 people died in a fire at the Tazreen Fashions factory. 

    Deadly Fire Hits Bangladesh Factory - Wall Street Journal

    There is something wrong when some are making money hand over fist, while others continue to struggle to survive. This past fiscal year,  Oracle CEO Lawrence Ellison took home close to $80 Million. But this type of limitless pay practice embodied by Oracle isn't going unnoticed. The CtW Investment Group is expected to send a letter to shareholders on Tuesday, urging them to again vote against the executive compensation by the enterprise software giant at the annual meeting on Oct. 31.

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  • Tuesday, October 8, 2013 Low-wage Federal Contract Employees Would like to Work, and for Living Wages

    Over the weekend, federal workers could rest easy knowing their compensation won't be affected despite the government shutdown. But for low-wage federal contract employees, who work in federal buildings, the shutdown means no work, no pay, and little recourse. 

    During Shutdown, Fast Food Workers in Government Buildings Are Shit Out of Luck - Washington City Paper

    How can we fund living wages for low-wage federal contract workers? First, an estimated $23.9 Billion is spent compensating top executives of private contracts that make more than the Vice President of the United States. If we capped their compensation at the VP salary range, the government would see billions of dollars in savings to use towards paying 560,000 contract workers -- who earn $12 per hour or less -- a living wage. 

    How the Government Subsidizes Inequality -

    "As long as corporations work for Washington, taxpayer-funded federal contracts should reflect the values of a democratic social contract." President Obama has the authority to put these values into action immediately for low-wage contract employees instead of waiting on congress to increase the minimum wage. By taking executive action, the President can lift 650,000 federal contract workers out of poverty and lead by example. 

    When Federal Contracts Turn Into Corporate Welfare - Huffington Post/In These Times

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