National News

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Stuck on $7.25

By David Goodman
Religious Action Center RAC Blog, Jul 23 2010
This Saturday, July 24th, has a dubious distinction among those of us fighting for economic justice: it will be the first time in three years that July 24th did not signify an increase in the federal minimum wage.

Living wage laws don't hurt employers

Letter to the Editor
By Rion Dennis
Baltimore Sun, Jul 22 2010
The current bill making its way through the Baltimore City Council to require retailers with gross sales over $10 million to pay their employees a living wage is an important piece of legislation which was unnecessarily maligned by columnist Marta Mossburg ("Baltimore can't live with this 'living wage' bill," July 20).

Sign Petition Against Eliminating BLS International Labor Comparisons Program

Mar 11 2010
The Bureau of Labor Statistics International Labor Comparisons Program is proposed for elimination in the President's FY-2011 budget. For just $2 million annually and with 50 years of experience, the BLS International Labor Comparisons Program produces timely, high-quality international comparisons of labor force, productivity, hourly compensation and prices for many industrialized countries.

'Living wage' could be factor in govt contracts

By Sam Hananel
Associated Press, Feb 26 2010
WASHINGTON — The White House is looking at a new policy that would give an advantage in bidding on government contracts to companies that offer a "living wage" and generous benefits.

But business groups opposing the idea maintain it would shut out smaller businesses from competing for more than $500 billion a year in federal contracts and increase government procurement costs.

Plan to Seek Use of U.S. Contracts as a Wage Lever

By Steven Greenhouse
New York Times, Feb 26 2010
The Obama administration is planning to use the government’s enormous buying power to prod private companies to improve wages and benefits for millions of workers, according to White House officials and several interest groups briefed on the plan.

By altering how it awards $500 billion in contracts each year, the government would disqualify more companies with labor, environmental or other violations and give an edge to companies that offer better levels of pay, health coverage, pensions and other benefits, the officials said.

Restaurant workers are starved of benefits, report says

By Jane Black
Washington Post, Feb 11 2010
Despite the recession, the restaurant industry is thriving. Many of its workers, however, are not.

A new report from the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC), a nonprofit organization that advocates better wages and work conditions for restaurant workers, revealed that 90 percent of industry staff members are not offered health insurance or sick days, 67 percent go to work sick, and 38 percent are forced to work off the clock.

Scroogism Wrecking America

Op-ed by Holly Sklar
McClatchy Tribune News Service, Dec 24 2009
The Scrooges of Wall Street were surprised a year ago by visits from the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future.

The Ghost of Christmas Past took them back to 1973, when the poverty rate was the lowest on record. The Ghost showed them a middle-class family living the American Dream -- with decent wages and health care, a comfortable home, money to send the kids to college, and a pension to supplement Social Security.

"Bah!" said the Scrooges of Wall Street. "Humbug!"

Scapegoating the minimum wage

By Christine L. Owens and Tsedeye Gebreselassie
Huffington Post, Dec 21 2009

It wouldn't be the holidays if we didn't have grinches. In the spirit of the season, this week we saw calls to lower the federal minimum wage (yes, you read that correctly), thinly disguised as a way to help the economy. In this time of recession and high unemployment, however, that is actually the last thing policymakers should do.

Hurricane? Recession? Right says: Cut wages!

By Ross Eisenbrey
Huffington Post, Dec 17 2009

It's entirely predictable that the right would take advantage of the recession to call for ending wage protections for American workers in the name of "job creation." That's what happened this week, when Washington Post editorial writer Charles Lane actually made the case that, to create jobs, we should lower the minimum wage and eliminate Davis-Bacon wage standards for construction workers on federally-financed projects. (You might remember that President Bush used Hurricane Katrina as an excuse to suspend Davis-Bacon wage standards in the Gulf Coast in 2005).

Would cutting the minimum wage raise employment?

By Paul Krugman
New York Times Blog, Dec 16 2009
It seems that more and more Serious People (and Fox News) are rallying around the idea that if Obama really wants to create jobs, he should cut the minimum wage.

So let me repeat a point I made a number of times back when the usual suspects were declaring that FDR prolonged the Depression by raising wages: the belief that lower wages would raise overall employment rests on a fallacy of composition. In reality, reducing wages would at best do nothing for employment; more likely it would actually be contractionary.

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