Ensuring Equality For All In The Workplace

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By Staff of NELP – It has been more than 50 years since the Civil Rights Movement and the passage of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a landmark federal law that prohibits racial discrimination in the workplace. Yet despite decades of struggle, Blacks and other minorities continue to face discrimination in the workplace, perpetuating cycles of inequities that make it difficult to attain success. Whether working full-time or part-time, Black workers earn only three-quarters of what white workers earn. The wage gap is even more pronounced for Black women.[1] Furthermore, almost two in ten Black workers with higher degrees are still earning low wages.[2] These trends may be exacerbated in the coming years, as the Trump administration has already proposed divesting significant financial resources from civil rights enforcement, making rigorous state-level protections all the more critical.[3] In California, the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) prohibits discrimination in the workplace based on immutable factors such as race, age, and disability. However, the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), the agency responsible for enforcing the law, is underfunded, understaffed, and overburdened by the difficult task of being the first line of defense against both housing and workplace discrimination.

Newsletter - Dismantling White Supremacy

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By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese. Last weekend, tens of thousands of people marched in Washington, DC in the combined March for Racial Justice and March for Black Women. Native Americans joined black and brown people to lead the march. At the march, Rev. Graylan Hagler said, “White Supremacy has been given aid and comfort by a so-called president and so-called administration, and so-called leaders of that ideology are comforted and feel that they are back as a centerpiece of American political life.” From coast to coast, it is true that white supremacists are active and are being more visible than they have in decades.

How U.S. News College Rankings Promote Economic Inequality On Campus

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By Benjamin Wermund for Politico – Meanwhile, there is no measurement for the economic diversity of the student body, despite political pressure dating back to the Obama administration and a 2016 election that revealed rampant frustration over economic inequality. There is, however, growing evidence that elite universities have reinforced that inequality. Recent studies have produced the most powerful statistical evidence in decades that higher education — once considered the ladder of economic mobility — is a prime source of rewarding established wealth. One report by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation found that kids from the top quartile of income earners account for 72 percent of students at the nation’s most competitive schools, while those from the bottom quartile are just 3 percent. Fewer than 10 percent of those in the lowest quartile of income ever get a bachelor’s degree, research has shown. The lack of economic diversity extends far beyond the Ivy League, and now includes scores of private and public universities, according to the Equality of Opportunity Project, which used tax data to study campus economic trends from 2000 to 2011, the most recent years available. For instance, the University of Michigan enrolls just 16 percent of its student body from the bottom 60 percent of earners.

How Much Should Nonprofit Hospital CEOs Earn?

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By Alicia Freeze for Seven Days. The average Vermonter makes about $50,000 a year. Executive directors of Vermont nonprofits make an average of $83,000, according to the group Common Good Vermont. Yet the heads of nonprofit hospitals in Vermont earn around $550,000 on average. Last year, the University of Vermont Medical Center CEO made more than $2 million. Hospital board members say their executive pay is in line with competitors and makes up a small portion of their budget. But not everyone buys that defense. “The public is struggling to pay for health care,” said Sen. Chris Pearson (P/D-Chittenden). “To see that the CEO of our hospital is getting $2 million … it’s just way out of whack with the Vermont economy.”

Black Women Work 7 months In 2017 Equal Pay Of White Men In 2016

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By Staff for Economic Policy Institute. July 31st is Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, the day that marks how long into 2017 an African American woman would have to work in order to be paid the same wages as her white male counterpart was paid last year. Black women are uniquely positioned to be subjected to both a racial pay gap and a gender pay gap. In fact, on average, black women workers are paid only 67 cents on the dollar relative to white non-Hispanic men, even after controlling for education, years of experience, and location. Pay inequity directly touches the lives of black women in at least three distinct ways. Since few black women are among the top 5 percent of earners in this country, they have experienced the relatively slow wage growth that characterizes growing class inequality along with the vast majority of other Americans. But in addition to this class inequality, they also experience lower pay due to gender and race bias.

Why Tax Cuts for the Rich Solve Nothing

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By Joseph E. Stiglitz for Project Syndicate. A politically astute president who understood deeply the economics and politics of corporate tax reform could conceivably muscle Congress toward a reform package that made sense. Trump is not that leader. If corporate tax reform happens at all, it will be a hodge-podge brokered behind closed doors. More likely is a token across-the-board tax cut: the losers will be future generations, out-lobbied by today’s avaricious moguls, the greediest of whom include those who owe their fortunes to scummy activities, like gambling. The sordidness of all of this will be sugarcoated with the hoary claim that lower tax rates will spur growth. There is simply no theoretical or empirical basis for this, especially in countries like the US, where most investment (at the margin) is financed by debt and interest is tax deductible. The marginal return and marginal cost are reduced proportionately, leaving investment largely unchanged. In fact, a closer look, taking into account accelerated depreciation and the effects on risk sharing, shows that lowering the tax rate likely reduces investment.

In 40 Years: CEO Pay Up 937%, Worker Wages Stagnant

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By Alexandra Jacobo for Nation of Change. US inequality problem continues to be the worst in the industrialized world. A new report, published by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) this week, shows that while wages for American workers have essentially remained stagnant for decades, CEO pay has soared at an “outrageous” clip. A study by the Pew Research Center (PRC) in 2014 found that economic analyses show a “lack of meaningful wage growth.” Looking at five decades worth of government wage data, PRC showed that wages have been flat or even falling since the 1970s, regardless of changes in the economy and job markets. Now EPI’s Lawrence Mishel and Jessica Schieder have found that between the years of 1978 and 2016, CEO pay rose 937 percent. Over that same period, worker compensation grew by a measly 11.2 percent. The CEOs of America’s largest firms made an average of $15.6 million, 271 times the annual average pay of a typical American worker.

Making Employee-Owned Enterprises Part Of The Income Inequality Solution

One of five banners entitled The Worker in the New World Order, painted for the founding convention of ICEM (International Confederation of Chemical, Energy, Mine & General Workers’ Unions–now merged into INDUSTRIALL). Dedicated to then-imprisoned Nigerian oil workers. Copyright © 1995.  Mike Alewitz

By Mary Ann Beyster for Democracy Collaborative – With income inequality in the United States at record high levels, employee ownership is increasingly being lauded as a potential solution to spreading wealth more broadly. Most recently, research from the National Center for Employee Ownership released in May shows that employee owners have a household net worth that is 92 percent higher than non-employee owners. They also make 33 percent higher wages, and are far less likely to be laid off. But employee ownership requires new investment in order to get to scale. A new report by Mary Ann Beyster, president and trustee of the Foundation for Enterprise Development (FED), published by the Fifty by Fifty initiative of The Democracy Collaborative, examines the investing landscape for potential opportunities in employee ownership. The report, Impact Investing and Employee Ownership, reports on the results from six months of research showing that the opportunities for impact investors to support employee ownership are limited, but that an investing infrastructure is beginning to emerge across asset classes.

Seattle Mayor, 2 City Council Members Propose City Income Tax On The Rich

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By Staff and Matt Lorch for Q13 FOX News – SEATTLE — Mayor Ed Murray and City Council members Kshama Sawant and Lisa Herbold on Monday proposed a new tax on high-income households. The proposal would place a 2 percent tax on joint filers’ income over $500,000 and single tax filers’ income over $250,000. They said the estimated $125 million in new annual revenue would allow the city to lower the burden associated with property taxes and other regressive taxes, replace federal funding potentially lost through President Donald Trump’s budget cuts and enhance public services such as housing, education and transit. Seattle income tax? “Washington state’s tax structure is the most regressive in the country, putting the burden on many of our most vulnerable residents,” Murray said. “Leaving cities with only regressive tax options puts the heaviest burden on working people, families and communities of color. By replacing a system that relies too heavily on property and sales taxes with a progressive income tax, we can ease that burden and generate revenue to invest in Seattle priorities…” Sawant said, “I ran for office four years ago on a program of a $15 per hour minimum wage, to tax the rich, and for rent control.

90% Of American Households Lost About $17,000 In Wealth To Plutocrats In 2016

Steve Lambert, an artist living in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, created this sign in 2012 to find out from people in the Greater Boston area what they thought of this question. (Photo: Nate Goldman/WBUR)

By Paul Buchheit for Common Dreams – America has always been great for the richest 1%, and it’s rapidly becoming greater. Confirmation comes from recent work by Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez, and Gabriel Zucman; and from the 2015-2016 Credit Suisse Global Wealth Databooks (GWD). The data relevant to this report is summarized here. The Richest 1% Extracted Wealth from Every Other Segment of Society. These multi-millionaires effectively shifted nearly $4 trillion in wealth away from the rest of the nation to themselves in 2016. While there’s no need to offer condolences to the rest of the top 10%, who still have an average net worth of $1.3 million…

Trump’s ‘Jobs Czar’ Defeats Workers After 105 Day Strike

Trump flanked by the Blackstone CEO, Stephen Schwarzman, a Momentive investor and Trump’s ‘jobs czar’, and the General Motors CEO, Mary Barra. Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

By Dominic Rushe and Tom Pietrasik for the Guardian. Momentive’s workers are not alone in their grievances. In 2016 dollars, the average hourly wage of a high school educated worker was $18.29 in 1973, according to the Economic Policy Institute. Last year it was $17.25. Ignoring minor bumps and dips, it’s fair to say that a quarter of the US workforce (those with no more than high school education) have seen their wages barely keep up with inflation for more than 40 years – a period that enjoyed decades of spectacular economic growth, particularly for the top 1%. Chatting over a beer after a day on the lines, Benny Patrignani, Dominick’s brother, says he has hope that Trump will bring change. “Both parties are so busy hitting each other, they haven’t been interested in us,” he says. The choice, he said, was: “Do you want to die by drowning or die by fire?”

How To Stop Trump’s Continuous Scam On The Working Class

Trump speaking in front of a picture of his own face at the Republican National Convention in July 2016. Photograph: Carolyn Kaster/AP

By Paul Street for Truthdig. Two things are clear going forward. First, progressives hoping to defeat Trump and Trumpism will need to drive a class wedge between the new administration’s big basket of deplorable, super-wealthy plutocrats and the president’s conservative WWC base. Second, Trump is going to provide a lot of ammunition for that wedge-building task with policies that mock his posture as some kind of great white working-class hero. It is distressing that candidate Trump got away with taking that populist pose in the first place. Born to significant real estate wealth, Trump owed his rise to hyper-opulence “to his relentless manipulation of the corporate-controlled media market … to increase the market value of his name, which he then licensed to be sold. … The result,” author Mike Lofgren notes, “was Trump resorts, Trump steaks, even Trump dietary supplements retailed through multilevel marketing, the polite biz school euphemism for a pyramid scheme. As for Trump University, the principal lesson it imparted … was how to avoid being victimized by such scams in the future. … Such is Donald Trump, friend of the working class.”

Portland, OR Enacts Tax On Corporations With CEO-Worker Income Divide

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By Jessica Floum for Oregon Live. Portland City Council approved the controversial plan 3-1 Wednesday, making a statement about growing income disparity in the United States while giving Commissioner Steve Novick a legacy piece in his final weeks in City Hall. The tax targets publicly traded companies whose chief executives report salaries at least 100 times higher than the salary of a median worker. Officials expect to raise $2.5 million a year starting in January 2018, with Novick hoping the money will help pay for homeless services. “This is as close as I’ve ever (come) to a tax on inequality itself,” said Novick, the first incumbent tossed from city council in 24 years after an upset loss to housing activist Chloe Eudaly last month. Novick said he also hopes the tax might discourage companies — well beyond Portland — from paying disproportionate salaries to their CEOs. He cited French economist Thomas Piketty, who calls escalating pay for top executives a major cause of the consolidation of wealth among the world’s top 1 percent of earners.

Black-White Earnings Gap Returns To 1950 Levels

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By Staff of Science Blog – After years of progress, the median earnings gap between black and white men has returned to what it was in 1950, according to new research by economists from Duke University and the University of Chicago. The experience of African-American men is not uniform, though: The earnings gap between black men with a college education and those with less education is at an all-time high, the authors say. The research appears online this week in the National Bureau of Economic Research working paper series.

Challenging A Wall Street Giant On Pay

BlackRock protest Aimee Tebay, pictured at the Nurses protest at Bord Altranais at Blackrock.

By Inequality.org staff. Investor and philanthropist Stephen Silberstein has set up a CEO pay showdown at the May 25 BlackRock annual meeting in New York City. The Wall Street firm’s CEO, Laurence Fink, is a classic example of “pay for nonperformance,” hauling in $26 million in compensation last year despite a significant drop in the company’s share price. But it gets worse. As the world’s largest money manager, BlackRock holds shares in thousands of U.S. corporations. And when it comes time to vote every year on those corporations’ executive pay packages, BlackRock nearly always rubberstamps the proposals — no matter how bloated they may be. Silberstein has filed a shareholder resolution with BlackRock that would require management to come up with plans for “bringing its voting practices in line with its stated principle of linking executive compensation and performance.” Inequality.org co-editor Sarah Anderson talked with Steve about his strategy.