Women's Economic Equity
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Updated Sept. 17, 2014
- Millions of Americans' Wages Seized Over Credit Card and Medical Debt - Millions of Americans are still grappling with debt they've accumulated since the recession hit. And new numbers out Monday show many are having a tougher time than you might think. One in 10 working Americans between the ages of 35 and 44 are getting their wages garnished. That means their pay is being docked - often over an old credit card debt, medical bill or student loan.
- Here's What Happened When 13 States Raised the Minimum Wage (Hint: Job Growth Didn't Implode) - It's very rare these days to hear any good news about wages of low-income Americans. But Elise Gould, of the Economic Policy Institute, delivered exactly that in a report at the end of August. In 2014, 13 states raised their minimum wages, five through legislation and eight through inflation indexing. Gould compared wage growth for the bottom 10 percent of Americans in those 13 states with the rest of America. In the former, real wages grew 0.9 percent, a non-negligible increase. In the remaining 37 states, real wages declined 0.1 percent. In other words, wage growth for the bottom 10 percent of Americans is entirely attributable to states that increased their minimum wages.
- Employers Steal Three Times More From Workers Than All Robberies Combined - The amount of money employers had to pay because they were found guilty of wage theft is nearly three times greater than all the money stolen in robberies, according to a new report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). That $50 billion figure dwarfs the $14 billion taken from victims of robberies, burglaries, larcenies, and car thefts in 2012. That's less than a third of the cost of wage theft, according to EPI's estimations.
- Many life milestones are out of millennials' reach - Young Americans are substantially less likely to own homes than their counterparts a generation or two ago, with their homeownership rates reaching record lows this year. About a third of millennials still live with their parents, earning us the irksome epithet "boomerang generation" - a play on "boomer generation," the presumed victim here. Unemployment rates for the youngest adults remain high, and they look far worse when you include people who aren't actually looking for work but still say they want a job. Student loan debt also seems to be weighing on young people's ability to buy, as documented by the economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, among others.
- Wage board appointed by Gov. Cuomo will consider raising pay for tipped workers - Restaurant workers who earn tips are paid a minimum of just $5 an hour, and other hospitality workers who earn tips make $5.65 an hour. The three-member board will start work Monday and could recommend wage increases. Restaurant workers who earn tips are paid a minimum of just $5 an hour - a rate that was not increased when Cuomo and the Legislature last year agreed to raise the minimum wage in three phases to $9 an hour by the end of 2015. Other hospitality workers who earn tips make $5.65 an hour.
- Gender gap is more than just pay - Equality in the workplace might be improving, but there's still a large chasm between men and women. And the gender gap is not just about how much you're paid. Overall, men's company budgets are twice as large as those of women with three times the number of direct reporting staff. That means women are essentially having to do more with less.
- AAUW announced its acquisition of the WAGE Project's signature programs, $tart $mart and Work $mart - AAUW volunteers have already brought $tart $mart to many campuses, and we believe that Work $mart, a salary negotiation workshop for women who are already in the workforce, has the same kind of potential. AAUW looks forward to expanding the delivery of these workshops as part of our work to close the wage gap.
- Young Households Are Losing Ground in Income, Despite Education - YOUNG families are better educated than ever before, but they are earning lower real incomes. The Federal Reserve Board's newly released 2013 Survey of Consumer Finances indicates that the median family headed by someone under 35 years of age earned $35,509 in 2013 dollars. Adjusted for inflation, that is 6 percent less than similar families reported in the first such survey, in 1989.
- Wages for Housework - Housework is a necessary labor for families, but it is largely unpaid, except when others are hired to do it. Families may pay others to cook, clean or take care of their children, but they don't pay themselves. This year, Italy considered a proposal in which the government, or in some cases the husband or partner, would pay wives for this thankless task. And a few years ago, India considered a similar bill. Should the family member who does most of the housekeeping be compensated?
- Hundreds of Fast-Food Protesters Arrested While Striking Against Low Wages - A nationwide protest against low wages in the US fast-food industry culminated in hundreds of arrests on Thursday, as activists stepped up their campaign for higher pay and better benefits for workers at companies such as McDonald's, Burger King and KFC. Protesters in more than 100 cities including Chicago, New York and Detroit took part in sit-ins and marches outside fast-food restaurants, with many conducting acts of civil disobedience designed to get them arrested.
- Wages Dropped for Almost All American Workers in First Half of 2014 - According to new research by the Economic Policy Institute, real hourly wages declined for almost everybody in the U.S. workforce in the first half of 2014.
- Fast-food workers plan nationwide protest Thursday - The campaign to get fast-food workers paid at least $15 a hour resumes later this week. Currently, the median pay for fast-food workers is just over $9 an hour, or about $18,500 a year. That's roughly $4,500 lower than the Census Bureau's poverty threshold level of $23,000 for a family of four.
- More Workers Are Claiming 'Wage Theft' - Some federal and state officials agree that more companies are violating wage laws than ever before, pointing to the record number of enforcement actions they have pursued. They complain that more employers - perhaps motivated by fierce competition or a desire for higher profits - are flouting wage laws.
- 116 Million Full-Time Workers in America Doing the Work of 136 Million People - The campaign to get fast-food workers paid at least $15 a hour resumes later this week. Currently, the median pay for fast-food workers is just over $9 an hour, or about $18,500 a year. That's roughly $4,500 lower than the Census Bureau's poverty threshold level of $23,000 for a family of four.
- Woman with 4 Jobs Dies While Napping in Car - 'This is someone who tried desperately to work and make ends meet.' Police said no foul play was suspected. But paying someone wages so low that she barely has time to sleep, let alone get gas, is quite foul.
- The Changing Face of Temporary Employment - The work of temping has changed vastly - today 42 percent of temporary workers labor in light industry or warehouses. And there are more of them. The number of workers employed through temp agencies has climbed to a new high - 2.87 million, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and they represent a record share of the nation's work force, 2 percent.
- Fast-Food Workers Challenge Stereotypes, Globalize Question of Fairness - Over the last two years, fast-food protests have grown in size, expanded in participation and spread around the United States, and more recently, the globe. Workers' demands include a "living wage" of $15 an hour and freedom to organize. The median earnings for fast-food workers during 2009 and 2011 was $18,564, about $500 less than the median income for child caregivers.
- The Rise of Gender Capitalism - Investing with a gender lens can create financial and social impact by increasing women's access to capital, promoting workplace equity, and creating products and services that improve the lives of women and girls.
- JANET YELLEN: JOB MARKET NOT RECOVERED - The U.S. job market has improved over the past year, but it is still not fully recovered.
- Joblessness not due to skills gap, experts say - While economists think it is always appropriate to have job training available, they are quick to add that job training will not solve the systemic problems that are causing high unemployment rates in either the region or the country.
- How the Largest Worker Owned Co-op in the US Lifts People Out of Poverty - New York City is going-in a big way-for worker-owned cooperatives. Inspired by the model of CHCA and prodded by a new network of co-op members and enthusiasts, Mayor Bill de Blasio and the New York City Council allocated $1.2 million to support worker cooperatives in 2015's budget. According to the Democracy at Work Institute, New York's investment in co-ops is the largest by any US city government to date.
- President Obama Signs Executive Order on Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces - The Executive Order requires prospective federal contractors to disclose labor law violations within the last three years. The order-which will go into effect for new contracts beginning in 2016-addresses wage and hour, safety and health, collective bargaining, family and medical leave, and civil rights protections for employees of government contractors. This order prohibits companies with contracts of $1 million or more from requiring their workers to enter into mandatory pre-dispute arbitration agreements for workplace harassment or civil rights complaints, thereby ensuring that employees can get their day in court. The Executive Order also requires contractors to give their employees information about their paychecks so they can make sure they are getting paid what they are owed.
- Poor Parents Need Work-Life Balance Too - Having no control over your work schedule means your boss controls not only how much you're paid but how much time you spend with your kids. Labor advocates are calling for workplace policies that give workers more stable schedules and more control over their hours. Now Washington may step in with legislation to check the volatility of the daily grind.
- Managers are nearly twice as likely as service workers to get paid time off - The Bureau of Labor Statistics released data on the percentage of workers with access to paid vacation time. Seventy-seven percent of American workers have access to paid vacation, with those in management professions most likely to have this benefit. Only 55 percent of those in the service industry get paid vacation days.
- Workers Speak Out Against Work Schedule Abuse and Retaliation - Roughly 2.5 million other American women working in low-wage jobs who are at the mercy of their employers for consistent work, and so, for consistent pay. As corporations have become more powerful (without unions to keep them in check), workers have become more vulnerable to these kinds of scheduling practices - none so more than women, who are overrepresented in low-wage work.
- Cuomo Convenes Wage Board For Tipped Workers - The state Department of Labor on Thursday was directed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to convene a wage board in order to recommend potential changes to the state's minimum wage for tipped workers. The governor's power to convene the board is one that minimum wage supporters have long pointed to as a way for Cuomo to shore up the current wage laws.
- Advocates, Tipped Workers, Seek Pay Increase from Cuomo Wage Board - Advocates for a higher minimum wage are urging for better wages for workers who rely on tips. Governor Cuomo has promised to create a committee to consider raising the minimum rate for the workers, and the groups say they have evidence that an increase is needed.
- U.S. Teenagers Really Don't Know the Value of a Dollar - A majority of U.S. 15-year-olds can recognize a bill for services, but they struggle to understand most financial concepts, from taxes to financial savings, according to the results of a new financial literacy exam, part of the Program of International Student Assessment.
- Waitresses of the world unite: The tipped minimum wage hasnít increased in 23 years - According to a recent report by the Economic Policy Institute, the tipped minimum wage has not increased from $2.13 in more than 23 years, a burden that falls especially hard on women who are two out of every three tipped workers. Despite public pressure, Congress has yet to act on a bill that would increase the federal minimum wage to $10.10 and reconnect the tipped minimum wage with the regular minimum wage. AAUW supports legislation that would increase the minimum wage for all workers.
- It's not your imagination: millennials really are living in their parents' basements - Even excluding college students, there's been a big increase in young people living at home.
- Rhode Island Approves Minimum Wage Increase - Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee signed into law a bill increasing the state's minimum wage by $1, to $9 an hour, a move which will take place next year. The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that nine other states and D.C., including Connecticut and Vermont, passed minimum wage increases in the 2014 legislative session, and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick recently approved an increase to $11 an hour by 2017. That increase is the highest of any state.
- Women CEOs Are Good For Business, Says Study - An analysis from Fortune showed that Fortune 1000 companies with female CEOs record better stock market returns than those with male CEOs. Only 51 of the Fortune 1000 companies are run by women. The number of female-headed Fortune 500 companies has grown from just two in 1998 to 24 in 2014, an all-time high. The Fortune study also revealed that female-led companies generate 7 percent of Fortune 1000's total revenue, even though women only make up 5 percent of Fortune 1000 CEOs. And of those female fortune 1000 CEOs who chose to disclose their family status, over 80 percent reported that they are also wives and mothers.
- States That Raised Their Minimum Wages Are Experiencing Faster Job Growth - Think a higher minimum wage is a job killer? Think again: The states that raised their minimum wages on January 1 have seen higher employment growth since then than the states that kept theirs at the same rate.
- Domestic Care for Family Members Isn't Valued if Its Givers Are Exploited - In the United States alone, numerous key labor and employment regulations, including the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), and various occupational safety regulations, have historically excluded domestic workers. The nearly two million domestic workers in the United States-and the millions worldwide-are treated as a casual, ancillary part of the workforce, neglected by labor laws, even as they take on the most crucial work for families and communities, cleaning homes and caring for children and the elderly. Domestic workers have been excluded from labor protections that workers in the rest of the economy take for granted. However, in the past decade, a growing movement has emerged calling for domestic workers to share in the same rights guaranteed to others.
- Couple's Quest to Eat Healthy on a Food Stamp Budget - Food Stamped is a documentary that takes an in-depth look at the food system in our country, which many citizens find to be broken. The film follows an American couple on their quest to eat healthy and stay on a well-balanced diet while on a food stamp budget. Throughout the film, the filmmaker, Yoav Potash, and his wife, Shira, a nutrition specialist, travel the country discussing the problem amongst the company of U.S. government officials, nutritionists, food organizations and other folks living on a one-dollar-meal plan.
- Nannies, Housekeepers, Caregivers Had Virtually No Rights-But Key Victories are Changing All That - In her new book, Part of the Family? Nannies, Housekeepers, Caregivers and the Battle for Domestic Workers' Rights, journalist Sheila Bapat explores how it came to be that an entire class of workers were excluded from basic labor protections. Through vivid storytelling and thorough research, Bapat exposes the working conditions and subjective practices that make policy change necessary. She explains what made victories possible in California, New York and Hawaii and what's underway in Massachusetts, Illinois and other states where caregivers are organizing themselves and pushing lawmakers to recognize the value of their work.
- A 2 Percet Pay Raise For M/C Workers Approved - Non-unionized state workers with management-confidential status will receive a long-sought 2 percent pay bump, according to a memorandum made public on Friday by the Division of Budget.
- Map: How a $10.10 minimum wage could affect workers in every congressional district - A new report sheds light on the relative impact of a federal minimum wage hike.
- Women in hard hats - Right now, women make up almost half of the total workforce in the United States but only 2.6 percent of all construction workers. And get this: The share of women in construction has not changed since 1983. You can read more about the roadblocks facing women in construction and how to increase women's access to these jobs in our new report, Women in Construction: Still Breaking Ground. As we note in our report, 88 percent of women face discrimination on construction sites. And before they can even step foot on a site, women must deal with obstacles in career and technical education and apprenticeships.
- U.S. Struggles to Draw Young, Savvy Staff - The percentage of its employees under the age of 30 hit an eight-year low of 7% in 2013, government statistics show, compared with about 25% for the private-sector workforce. Back in 1975, more than 20% of the federal workforce was under 30. Without a pipeline of young talent, the government risks falling behind in an increasingly digital world, current and former government officials say.
- Where Have All the Missing American Workers Gone? - A key factor, nearly all agree, is the growing exodus from the job market of Baby Boomers. Another reason is that some employment-intensive industries that suffered the most during the Great Recession, especially in manufacturing and construction, have yet to fully rebound. But perhaps the most significant factor is unemployed workers "who just drop out of the job market after one, two or three years of looking for work and not being successful," said Carl Van Horn, a professor of public policy at Rutgers University who studies workplace dynamics and employment trends.
- New Report Documents How Privatization Steals Wages, Harms Communities - Across the country, public services are increasingly outsourced to private contractors in the name of efficiency and cost savings. But a new report from a nonprofit research group shows that outsourcing public services hurts middle- and working-class communities, as well as workers.
- How Fast Food Companies Steal from Their Employees - Wage theft is disturbingly common at the workplace.
- NYS Senate Labor Committee clears 'Boss Bill' for floor vote - Legislation makes it illegal to discriminate against employees based on their reproductive health care decisions The Senate Labor Committee on Tuesday advanced legislation known as the Boss Bill, which would prevent employers from discriminating against employees based on their reproductive health decisions. The legislation was unanimously supported by the committee, with the exception of Sen. Greg Ball, who did not enter a vote, and it will now be sent to the Senate floor for a first reading.
- Millennials squeezed out of buying a home - Just 36% of Americans under the age of 35 own a home, according to the Census Bureau. That's down from 42% in 2007 and the lowest level since 1982, when the agency began tracking homeownership by age. Millennials want to buy homes -- 90% prefer owning over renting, according to a recent survey from Fannie Mae. But student loan debt, tight lending standards and stiff competition have made it next to impossible for many of these younger Americans to make the leap.
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