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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

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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 - BillMoyers.com

    "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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  • 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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