National News

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Top 1 Percent of Americans Reaped Two-Thirds of Income Gains in Last Economic Expansion

By Avi Feller and Chad Stone
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Sep 9 2009
Two-thirds of the nation’s total income gains from 2002 to 2007 flowed to the top 1 percent of U.S. households, and that top 1 percent held a larger share of income in 2007 than at any time since 1928, according to an analysis of newly released IRS data by economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez. During those years, the Piketty-Saez data also show, the inflation-adjusted income of the top 1 percent of households grew more than ten times faster than the income of the bottom 90 percent of households. More

Faith and labor leaders make case for living wages

By Theresa Laurence
Tennessee Register, Sep 4 2009
As the country celebrates Labor Day on Sept. 7, a national holiday dedicated to the achievements of the American worker, many low wage employees will not be enjoying a relaxing day off. Instead, they will be cleaning hotels, washing dishes, and stocking shelves for $7.25 an hour.

A full time worker earning minimum wage, which was raised from $6.55 to $7.25 in July, will make only $15,080 annually before taxes.

Working Without Laws

By Annette Bernhardt, Ruth Milkman & Nik Theodore
The Nation, Sep 4 2009

For the past thirty years, the gospel of lean and mean has reordered the world of work, setting off a race to the bottom in which employers circumvent and evade standards that once seemed inviolate. That race has now taken us to a logical low point: many employers are ignoring workplace laws altogether.

Low-Wage Workers Are Often Cheated, Study Says

By Steven Greenhouse
New York Times, Sep 2 2009
Low-wage workers are routinely denied proper overtime pay and are often paid less than the minimum wage, according to a new study based on a survey of workers in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

The study, the most comprehensive examination of wage-law violations in a decade, also found that 68 percent of the workers interviewed had experienced at least one pay-related violation in the previous work week.

Honoring Ted Kennedy

Aug 29 2009

"My father taught me to treat everyone I meet, no matter what station in life, with the same dignity and respect... I once told him that he accidentally left some money, I remember this when I was a little kid, on the sink in our hotel room. And he replied 'Teddy, let me tell you something. Making beds all day is back-breaking work. The woman who has to clean up after us today has a family to feed.'" - Ted Kennedy Jr., Aug. 29, 2009

Some hail minimum-wage hike

By Carmen Blanco
Catholic News Service, Aug 11 2009
Workers in 30 states and the District of Columbia have been impacted by the [July] 24 increase in the federal minimum wage from $6.55 to $7.25 per hour, but the question of whether the increase will help or hurt the economy remains to be seen.

Starting pay is too low

Letter to the Editor
By Ana Aguayo
Springdale, AR
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Aug 8 2009
As a community organization dedicated to fighting for workers' rights and social justice, we at the Northwest Arkansas Workers Justice Center strongly support the struggle of low-wage income workers living in poverty.

We join Let Justice Roll, a nonpartisan coalition of more than 100 faith, community, labor and business organizations in leading state and national campaigns to increase the minimum wage closer to a living wage.

Pro-Con on minimum wage

Wichita Eagle Editorial Dept. WE Blog, Aug 1 2009

Pro-con on minimum wage

minimumwagelogo2It would take $9.92 today to match the buying power of the minimum wage at its peak in 1968. In today’s dollars, the 1968 hourly minimum wage adds up to $20,634 a year working full time. The new federal minimum wage of $7.25 comes to just $15,080.

A bigger slice of the pie

Letter to the Editor
By Bradford Bowen
Northwest Arkansas Times, Jul 30 2009

The July 24 raise in the federal minimum wage to $7.25 per hour, the last of three such increases enacted by Congress in 2007, will help millions of workers cope with the rising price of food, housing and other basic items. Extra earnings of up to $28 per week could help pay for health care or school supplies, but it won't get many people out of poverty.

It is a blight on our society that people who work hard (many times even two or more jobs) cannot have a standard of living that enables them to live above the poverty level and to be able to pay their bills.

Churches push for $10 minimum wage by 2010

By Lindsay Perna
USA Today/Religion News Service, Jul 29 2009
WASHINGTON — Religious leaders and advocates, not satisfied with the 70-cent rise in the federal minimum wage that went into effect on Friday, are calling on congressional leaders to hike it up to $10 by 2010.

Even after the increase to $7.25 an hour, more than 600 interfaith leaders across the nation have signed a letter sponsored by a non-profit coalition whose aim is to raise the federal and state minimum wage to a "living wage."

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