national employment law project

yittzhak  asked:

I was wondering what you think about the $14/15 increase on minimum wage in ON? I've been hearing about it (but obvs the prices of everything else is going to go up for sure) but recently I overheard Fairchild TV News (which is the Chinese-CND news broadcasting that I take with a grain of salt bc they come off as FoxNews wannabes) screaming about how it was terrible bc the wage increase only happened due to cutting nursing jobs bc the govn't has no money. What do you think of this news?

Its a good idea.

There is no evidence to suggest that a higher minimum wage leads to unemployment, as I posted here:

A report that analyzed every minimum-wage hike since 1938 should put a bunch of nonsense ideas to rest

In a first-of-its-kind report, researchers at the National Employment Law Project pore over employment data from every federal increase since the minimum wage was first established, making “simple before-and-after comparisons of job-growth trends 12 months after each minimum-wage increase.”

What did the researchers find? The paper’s title says it all: “Raise Wages, Kill Jobs? Seven Decades of Historical Data Find No Correlation Between Minimum Wage Increases and Employment Levels.”

The results were clear. Of the nearly two dozen federal minimum-wage hikes since 1938, total year-over-year employment actually increased 68% of the time.

In those industries most affected by the minimum wage, employment increases were even more common: 73% of the time in the retail sector, 82% in low-wage leisure and hospitality.

I’m not sure of how nursing jobs and a higher minimum wage is related. The minimum wage also doesn’t cost the government anything extra. Most of the cost increases fall on the private sector. Most government jobs are already above $15/hour.


Some Walmart (WMT) employees are not happy about a new mandatory “dress code” or the fact that workers have to pay for clothes to comply with that dress code out of their own pockets.

The “new look” calls for employees to wear a navy blue or a white polo shirt and khaki or black pants or skirts. It also requires the return of the Walmart vest, but the company will pay for that.

At issue is whether the new rules about what employees can wear amount to a “uniform” or a “dress code.” The U.S. Department of Labor says companies must pay for a “uniform,” but not clothes required to comply with a “dress code.”

So is it legal for Walmart to require its employees to pay for a polo shirt and pants of a certain color?

According to one legal expert, Walmart employees who are unhappy about having to pay up may have an uphill battle. Federal Advocacy Coordinator at the National Employment Law Project, Judy Conti, told The Guardian that what Walmart is doing is legal.

“When an employer selects clothing you could wear anywhere else, they are not required to pay for it,” Conti said. “Black or khaki pants – it doesn’t come more basic than that. White or navy blue shirt: now, maybe you don’t wear white or maybe you don’t wear navy, but I’ll bet you wear one of them.”

Heidi Moore of The Guardian tells Yahoo Finance she thinks Walmart is asking too much of employees who already make too little.

“It is pretty much an egregious issue… it’s a huge chunk of their take-home pay and Walmart employees have been complaining for years - and even staging protests and walk-outs – that they are not paid enough, that they’re not paid a living wage.”

Walmart says its average full-time hourly wage in the United States is $12.92. The company says employees are free to buy the clothes anywhere, however, Walmart also has extended an offer for employees to buy the clothes from Walmart for a 10% discount. If employees buy dress-code appropriate clothes (2 shirts and 2 pairs of pants) from the company’s own website, that would add up to abour $48, after the company discount of 10%, which Moore says is “tiny” compared to other retailers’ discounts.

“If you work at any other store, whether it’s Macy’s (M) or Club Monaco, Urban Outfitters, you get 50% discounts, sometimes 60% discounts, so it’s also pretty chintzy on that front,” she said.–dress-code-191739053.html

Virginia bans asking job applicants about criminal history

Governor Terry McAuliffe on Friday signed an executive order making Virginia the latest U.S. state to prohibit government employers from asking job applicants about their criminal history.

Virginia joins more than a dozen other states in its decision to “ban the box” on job applications that prospective employees are asked to check if they have been convicted of a crime.

An individual’s rap sheet may be considered only if it “bears specific relation to the job for which they are being considered,” such as child care workers, state troopers, court officers and jail guards, said gubernatorial spokesman Brian Coy.

“In a new Virginia economy, people who make mistakes and pay the price should be welcomed back into society and given the opportunity to succeed,” McAuliffe said in a statement.

“This executive order will remove unnecessary obstacles to economic success for Virginians who deserve a second chance,” the Democratic governor said.

While the restriction applies to state hiring practices, McAuliffe said he hoped it would encourage private employers to follow suit.

The National Employment Law Project estimates that almost one in three adults in the United States has a criminal record that will show up on a routine criminal background check.

The move was applauded by Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, who aims to improve job re-entry programs for inmates released from jail.

“This is a responsible approach that keeps initial background checks for sensitive jobs in state government while ensuring that a youthful mistake or wrong decision doesn’t close the doors of opportunity for a lifetime,” Herring said.

Other states that have banned the box, Coy said, include California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico and Rhode Island.

Obama calls for legislation to extend unemployment insurance

In his weekly address on Saturday, President Barack Obama called on Congress to make bipartisan legislation extending emergency unemployment insurance a top priority as lawmakers return to work in 2014.

“For a lot of people and a lot of families, this is their only income source,” said National Employment Law Project federal advocacy coordinator Judy Conti. “This could pull the rug out from under 1.3 million families,” she said. Without an extension, an additional 2 million will fall off the rolls in the first half of the year.

Watch Obama’s address here

Follow updates about the debate on Breaking News

Photo: VeraMae Volk and her husband Eric Vaughn use their dining room table as an eBay center. (Gretchen Ertl for NBC News)
Fast-food workers plan new strike, aim to sway election
Workers will march in 270 cities with other protests in about 200 more.

Fast-food workers, already a potent political force, are planning their largest nationwide strike yet next week and this time will leverage their crusade for a $15-an-hour wage in a bid to sway the 2016 presidential election.

The group representing the workers, Fight for $15, plans on Tuesday to stage protests at restaurants in 270 cities, the most since it began organizing the demonstrations three years ago.

Striking fast-food and other low-wage workers will then gather at local city halls, kicking off a campaign to prod their colleagues to vote next November for local, state and national candidates who support the $15 pay floor. Labor and other groups will simultaneously rally in about 200 other cities, and the daylong blitz will culminate with a protest by several thousand workers at the Republican presidential debate in Milwaukee.

“We’re putting politicians on notice that we’re going to hold them accountable,” says Kendall Fells, the organizing director of Fight for $15, a group funded by the Service Employees International Union.

All of the top Democratic presidential candidates, including Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, have said they back a $12-$15 minimum wage and have made the growing divide between rich and poor a centerpiece of their campaigns. Most of the Republican contenders oppose raising the federal minimum of $7.25 an hour, saying it will hurt job growth.

But Kendall said, “This is not about a candidate, and it’s not about a party,” adding workers will vote for candidates of any party that support the cause.

Over the next year — the walkouts will be Nov. 10, exactly 12 months before the election — the group plans to mobilize many of the 64 million Americans who earn less than $15 an hour with neighborhood drives to register and vote.

Nearly 70% of unregistered voters would sign up, and a similar share of registered voters would be more likely to go to the polls if there were a presidential candidate in favor of a $15 minimum wage and workers’ right to unionize, according to a recent poll by Harris interactive and YouGov for the National Employment Law Project. NELP estimates those factions represent about 48 million potential voters.

“This set of issues can motivate voters who have not been engaged in the election process” and tip races in swing states, says Neera Tanden, president of the liberal Center for American Progress.

Terrence Wise, 36, of Kansas City, Mo., earns $8 an hour at jobs at McDonald’s and Burger King and has participated in earlier protests. He says he has never voted because, “I truly thought my vote wouldn’t matter much,” and he was just “trying to make it to the next day.”

But noting that the low-paid worker demonstrations have led to significant advances, he plans to vote for the first time next year. “I’m seeing I can make a change,” he says.

The movement has been credited with coaxing cities such as Seattle and Los Angeles to raise their hourly minimums to $15 an hour, and with pressuring companies such as Wal-Mart, Target and McDonald’s to increase worker pay. But Wise is rankled by the legislature’s recent decision in his state to block Kansas City’s hike in the hourly minimum to $13.

Michael Saltsman, research director for the Employment Policies Institute, which is partly funded by the restaurant industry, said mandates for higher wages are already prompting some restaurants to lay off workers, close or experiment with replacing some employees with technology, such as touchscreen tablets to place orders.

h/t: Paul Davidson at USA Today