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  • Friday, September 27, 2013 President Obama: Sign an Executive Order to Lift Government Contracted Employees out of Poverty.

    On Wednesday, 175 federally contracted low-wage workers went on strike and took it straight to President Obama's doorstep. They're asking the President to sign an executive order to ensure government contracts are awarded only to employers that pay living wages. The workers sent President Obama a clear message, he should keep his word and take necessary action to lift an estimated two million workers out of poverty nationwide. 

    Federal Contractors, Low Wages - The New York Times

    After 19 years cleaning floors and bathrooms in Union Station, Vilma Martinez still earns only $8.25 per hour. Vilma is one of the many workers asking President Obama to sign an executive order to make federal contracted employers pay their workers a living-wage. Workers gathered outside the White House, chanting slogans like "we can't survive on $8.25" in English and Spanish and were accompanied by Christian, Jewish and Muslim clerics. At noon, six workers met with White House officials to discuss their personal stories. 

    Low-wage workers at federal buildings rally for higher pay - Washington Post

    Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., joins the NOW panel to discuss income inequality in the U.S. and low-wage federal contracted workers striking in front of the White House in the hopes of pressuring President Obama to raise their pay.

    Low-wage contractors want Obama to raise pay (VIDEO) - Now with Alex Wagner, MSNBC

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  • Friday, September 20, 2013 Great Recession: Middle-Class Sinking Even Further

    A lot has changed since 1988, but definitely not the amount a typical household makes each year. Today, a typical household makes $51,017 according to the Census Bureau, roughly the same amount a typical household made in 1988. It's not something you'd expect from the richest and most technologically advanced nation. “Almost all of the benefits of growth since the trough of the Great Recession have been going to those in the upper classes,” said Timothy Smeeding, who heads the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Madison-Wisconsin. 

    America’s Sinking Middle Class - New York Times

    Having two jobs doesn't always translate to having a roof over your head. In New York City, some people are working long hours and sometimes two jobs at a time, but cannot afford housing. “A one-bedroom in East New York or the South Bronx is still $1,000 a month,” said Patrick Markee, senior policy analyst with the Coalition for the Homeless, an advocacy and housing services group. “The jobs aren’t enough to get people out of homelessness.” Read more to learn about two NYC women struggling to pull themselves out of poverty.  

    In New York, Having a Job, or 2, Doesn’t Mean Having a Home - New York Times

    This week the Census Bureau reported the latest depressing decline in middle-class incomes during the so-called economic recovery, but they missed an important factor. Middle-class incomes have steadily fallen alongside the steadily decreasing union membership rates. Read more and view the chart: 

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  • Monday, September 16, 2013 Rich-Poor Employment Gap Highest on record; Minimum wage goes up in CA and Paul Krugman’s call to Give Jobs a Chance

    "Rates of unemployment for the lowest-income families — those earning less than $20,000—have topped 21 percent, nearly matching the rate for all workers during the 1930s Great Depression," according to data tracked by the Associated Press that began a decade ago. The analysis shows an increase of middle-income workers pushed into lower-wage jobs, which then displaces lower-skilled, low-income workers, who become unemployed or forced to work fewer hours.

    Rich-Poor Employment Gap Now Widest On Record - Associated Press

    California residents might see their minimum wage increase to $10 an hour. The California Legislature approved a bill to increase the minimum wage to $10 an house by 2016 if signed into law by Governor Gerry Brown. This increase doesn't go far and it's long overdue, a study released in June by the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, a national organization focusing on racial equity in the restaurant industry, found that $10.10 minimum wage would have pulled roughly 58 percent of the nation’s 10.4 million working poor out of poverty in 2011. 

    These 2 Stats Prove California's $10 Minimum Wage Is A Big Deal - Huffington Post

    The Federal Reserve's Open Market Committee —the group who sets the U.S monetary policy -  will be holding its sixth meeting of this year, and is expected to announce the "taper" — a slowing of the pace at which it buys long-term assets. " Please don't do it. If you think about the balance of risks, this is a bad time to be doing anything that looks like a tightening of monetary policy," said Paul Krugman, Columnist for the New York Times. 

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  • Friday, September 13, 2013 The Wal-Mart Union Prevention Model, Free Online Organizing for Progressives and Fairness for Immigrant Workers in CA

    It's really no surprise how Wal-Mart has managed to get away with paying their workers so little and prevented workers from unionizing. Lisa Lopez, a former Wal-Mart employee — who was fired for 'violating a food safety policy' after participating in protests — said, "I think they don't want me to actually let people know what's really going on at Wal-Mart, so they'd rather get rid of me." Firings like Lopez’s aren't shocking — Read more from Josh Eidelson here:

    How Wal-Mart keeps wages low - Washington Post

    Lowering the barriers for collaboration and online organizing, individuals or small organizations for progressive causes will have access to software organizing tools  — like the famous Obama For America (OFA) campaign — but without the expense.  The Corporate Action Network is transforming the organizing world with the launch of a new software package called, "Advocacy Network" which allows the user to run their own email list, database and petition site.

    Hey: Now you can mass-e-mail people just like Obama - Washington Post

    "For too long, employers have used the threat of deportation to silence workers who are victims of stolen wages, unsafe working conditions, and abuse on the job," said Eunice Cho, an attorney at the National Employment Law Project. The California State legislature has passed new protections designed to stop employers from retaliating against immigrant workers who stand up for their rights. 

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  • Wednesday, September 11, 2013 DOL Sec. Perez talks labor; Not so shiny Dimon

    In an interview on Tuesday, US Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez promised effective enforcement of federal employment law, celebrated U.S. unions’ increased collaboration with non-union non-profits, and defended the administration’s appearances at events with Wal-Mart. “The right to organize is a big part of what needs to happen, in my judgment,” Perez told The Nation, “as we grow the middle class and recover from the worst recession of our lifetime.” 

    US Labor Secretary: 'The American Workplace Has Evolved' - The Nation

    On Monday, JpMorgan Chase & Co’s board added two new directors in hopes of balancing power and reining in Chairman and Chief Executive Jamie Dimon, who piloted the largest U.S. bank through the financial crisis. These directors don’t have the outside perspective the bank needs, said Michael Pryce-Jones, a spokesman for the CtW Investment Group. "Bringing in someone who was a former deputy of Jamie Dimon's is absolutely the wrong move, and Michael Neal worked for a too-big-to-fail financial company himself.”   

    UPDATE 3-JPMorgan's board takes some power from Dimon - Reuters

    The JpMorgan Chase & Co’s board announced Monday that they added two new directors after Ellen Futter and David Cote resigned from drawing widespread criticism for their lack of banking industry experience. The largest U.S Band has since been under fire for trading losses, countless government investigations and numerous shareholder complaints.

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