States Blocking Cities From Raising Standards For Workers

Low Wage Protest

By Marni von Wilpert for Economic Policy Institute. On August 28, 2017, low-wage workers in St. Louis, Missouri, became the latest victims of state preemption laws. “Preemption” in this context refers to a situation in which a state law is enacted to block a local ordinance from taking effect—or dismantle an existing ordinance. In this case, St. Louis had raised its minimum wage above the state minimum—but was then forced to lower it back down when the Missouri state legislature preempted the local ordinance. Ironically, state preemption of labor standards has historically been used for good: to ensure that minimum labor standards are applied statewide. It is only in recent years that it has been so frequently used to take earnings and protections away from workers. This report looks at the rising use of preemption by state legislatures to undercut local labor standards.

States Seeking To Preempt Minimum Wage Increases By Cities

Low Wage Protest

By Staff of National Employment Law Project. State legislatures around the country are attempting to bar cities and counties from passing their own minimum wage laws through “preemption” laws that take away a locality’s power to enact such measures. Local minimum wage laws play a key role in ensuring that a worker can afford the basics in cities or counties where the cost of living is higher than in other parts of the state. While proponents of preemption often claim that their main concern is to avoid a “patchwork” of wage levels within a state, in reality, these bills are motivated by a desire to block higher wages. Ultimately, preemption of local minimum wage laws is a priority for big business. Advocates, workers, and legislators who support an economy that works for all should oppose the preemption of local minimum wage laws. Many States Authorize Cities & Counties to Enact Local Minimum Wage Laws; Over 40 Cities & Counties Have Successfully Enacted Such Laws.

Newsletter - This Juneteenth, End "US Way Of War"

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By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese. We just returned from the weekend-long United National Anti-War Coalition (UNAC) conference in Richmond, VA. This is the fourth UNAC conference since its founding in 2010 to create a vibrant and active anti-war movement in the United States that opposes all wars. The theme this year was stopping the wars at home and abroad in recognition that we can’t end one without ending the others, that they have common roots and that it will take a large, broad-based and diverse movement of movements to succeed. Speakers at the conference ranged from people who are fighting for domestic issues – such as a $15/hour minimum wage and an end to racist police brutality and ICE raids – to people who traveled from or represented countries such as Russia, Ukraine, Hungary, Korea, the Philippines, the Congo, Iran, Syria, Colombia and Venezuela, which are some of the many countries under attack by US imperialism.

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.”

Resistance In The Time Of A Madman

NCNR protest in DC January 2017 by Nick Mottern

By Joy First for National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance. We have a madman in the White House. Yet, unlikely acts of resistance are popping up all over the country from the large “Resist” banner hanging from a construction crane near the White House, to the National Park Rangers in the Badlands creating an alternative Twitter account, to mother’s groups who are putting aside talk of their children while they write letters to Congress, to the 60 programmers and scientists who were gathered at the Department of Information Studies building at the University of California-Los Angeles, harvesting important government data before Trump has a chance to disappear it. There is so much going on and so many ways we can get involved. This is the time we have been waiting for to see real change in the world. What kind of world will we leave for our children and grandchildren? The only way we will bring change is to keep the hope and rise up, rise up together and resist. The time has come and we will prevail in our struggle for peace and justice for all.

Newsletter: Time For Boldness, Clarity & Assertiveness

People have the power; protest in Ferguson City Hall in 2014.

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. In this moment, the movement for economic, racial and environmental justice needs be bold, clear and assertive in putting forth an agenda that will serve the economically dispossessed, those under attack by militarized police, immigrants facing detentions and deportations and demonstrate policies that ensure economic security. Where Trump is right, as in detente with Russia, the movement will support him against the neocons and humanitarian war supporters; and we will push him further for an end to war as the primary tool of foreign policy. Both parties are confronting major fissures, leadership challenges and questions about where they go from here. Their confused leadership provides an opportunity for the popular movement to fill the leadership void with policies that put people, planet and peace over profit.

Newsletter: #NoHoneymoon, A Presidency Of Protest

Stage on first day of Occupy Washington, DC at Freedom Place, October 2011.

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. The task of the movement for economic, racial and environmental justice is much bigger than the presidential election. Our job is to build people power to ensure that no matter who is the next president, the people’s voices are heard and our demands are part of the political agenda. We urge organizers and advocates across the nation to begin to plan a campaign beginning in early 2017 and carrying on through the inauguration to ensure that right from the beginning the people’s voices are a dominant narrative. The #NoHoneymoon campaign will take various forms in communities across the country. Talk to your networks of activists and plan what would work best in your community. The creativity and energy that comes from diverse leadership has surprised the nation before and can do so again.

Newsletter - Lift The Veil; See Reality, Take Action

Vermont worker protest Now is The Time

By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese. It is graduation time and our youth are inheriting a dysfunctional economy while they are saddled with the highest debt ever. This situation creates a downward spiral in which new graduates delay meaningful participation in the economy, such as buying a house or starting a new business, while they try to pay off their debt. Chuck Collins advocates for one solution: higher taxes on the wealthy that are used to reduce the cost of education. This is being done in Washington State. The reality for most youth today is a very different situation than that experienced by the older generation; it is one of intergenerational injustice that must be confronted and corrected or the negative impacts will last a long time. Many people no longer believe the lies we are told to keep us from demanding solutions. A veil is being lifted as people understand how the system is rigged against them and how they need to work together to fight for a better future.

Newsletter: The Corruption Of Money

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By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers. As tax day approaches, there will be numerous reports about how US oligarchs – wealthy individuals and major corporations – do not pay their fair share in taxes. A GAO report released this week found “at least two-thirds of active U.S. corporations paid zero federal income taxes between 2006 and 2012. The report also found that large, profitable corporations only paid 14% of their profits in federal income taxes on average from 2008 through 2012, while approximately one-fifth of them paid nothing at all.” This is not only due to tax laws that provide corporations with a wide array of loopholes to lower their taxes, but is also due to the intentional hiding of money off-shore. A 2015 report found that nearly 75% of Fortune 500 companies tucked away $2.1 trillion in accumulated profits offshore to avoid paying US income taxes.

Fight For $15 Continues To Build Power & Momentum

Fight for 15 women protesters

By Jack Temple for Fight for 15. After California and New York officially made $15/hour the law of the land on Monday, pundits and observers around the country turned their attention to the workers who made these historic wage increases possible: Two Fight for $15 leaders from New York and California – Manhattan McDonald’s worker Jorel Ware and LA McDonald’s worker Anggie Godoy – wrote in the Huffington Post this week about how speaking out on the job created real change in their states: “Since the time when we each first joined the Fight for $15, we have learned that the way working people win justice is by joining together and taking a stand. Our wins this week from coast to coast show more than anything the power of workers organizing.” And in the LA Times on Monday, SEIU President Mary Kay Henry summarized how workers have flipped the politics of the country by going on strike and speaking out: “The fearlessness of the workers has made elected officials understand that there is huge wind at their back. We’re proud that it created a situation where both New York and California were dueling at the same time. […] It’s how the movement has created more than we even imagined possible before.”

Newsletter - Building Toward Political Revolution

Revolution

By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese for Popular Resistance. Of course, we also know the Panama Papers leak is about just one tax evasion firm, and not a major one. This is a small tip of a massive tax evasion iceberg. Estimates are that $7.6 trillion in individual assets are in tax havens, about one-tenth of the global GPD. The use of tax havens has grown 25 percent from 2009 to 2015.  Gabriel Zucman, author of The Hidden Wealth of Nations: The Scourge of Tax Havens and assistant professor at UC Berkeley estimates that US citizens have at least $1.2 trillion stashed offshore, costing $200 billion a year worldwide in lost tax revenue and US transnational corporations are underpaying their taxes worldwide by $130 billion. The Panama Papers will escalate demands for transformation of the economy as well as of government; continue to increase pressure on capitalism and result in the growth of the people powered movement for economic justice.

Why The Delay? US Should Pay $15 An Hour Now

Fight for 15 at Miami Republican debate.

By Jonathan Rosenblum for AlterNet. Millions of workers across the country have won wage hikes under the banner of $15, and this week many more in California stand poised to join the parade. But three and a half years after the first picket sign was hoisted demanding $15/hour and union recognition, very few minimum wage workers are actually getting paid that much. That’s because among those crafting wage legislation, it’s become an axiom that increases must be phased in over time for the sake of business and economic stability. California Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez reflects a prevailing establishment view that what’s needed is “a reasonable, measured approach that would prevent sticker shock for businesses.” Newly adopted $15 minimum wage laws have been unveiled with great fanfare and media coverage. But lost in the headlines is the reality that because of phase-in schedules, workers won’t actually see $15/hour in their pay for three, five or even seven years.

A $15 Minimum Wage Is Sweeping The Nation

Fight for 15 with signs

By Bruce Covert for Think Progress. If 2014 was the year where the majority of states got on board with a higher minimum wage than the federal level of $7.25 an hour, 2015 was the year the rallying cry for a $15 minimum wage gained serious legislative traction. This year, three California cities — Emeryville, Los Angeles, and Mountain View — all passedminimum wage increases that will eventually bring them up to $15 an hour. Meanwhile, New York State enacted an eventual $15 minimum wage for its fast food workforce, while Massachusetts enacted one for its home care workers. Those increases came on top of previous progress: SeaTac and Seattle in Washington and San Francisco in California passed $15 minimums in 2014.

#FightFor$15 Overwhelms Republican Debate In Miami

Fight for 15 at Miami Republican debate.

By Giovanna Vitale for Fight For $15. An enormous group of underpaid Floridians busted through police lines in Miami Thursday evening on their way to GOP debate, where they’re calling on the candidates to stand with the nearly four million Floridians who make less than $15. Chanting “we work, we sweat, put $15 in our checks,” the group stormed through the University of Miami campus and up to the front gate of the BankUnited Center–as stunned Republican debate goers looked on. The crowd of hundreds forced police to shut down Ponce de Leon Avenue, the main street in front of the debate venue.

Fight For $15 Update: When Truman Doubled Minimum Wage

About 50 supporters of unionized Twin Cities janitors picket outside Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport's Terminal 1 on Wednesday afternoon. Thousands of union members are expected to participate in the 24-hour strike. Riham Feshir | MPR News

By Giovanna Frank-Vitale for Fight For $15. A New York Times editorial, Teresa Tritch details what happened with Harry Truman doubled the minimum wage in 1950 from 40 cents to 75 cents an hour: “By December 1950, when the 75-cent minimum had been in place for nearly a year, [the unemployment rate] had fallen to 4.3 percent. By December 1951, it was 3.1 percent and by December 1952, it was 2.7 percent.” In an editorial Friday, the Times criticizes laws that industry-backed legislators are trying to quietly pass through state houses nationwide to nullify local efforts to raise the minimum wage. The editorial board writes on a situation unfolding now: “In Alabama, a pre-emption effort introduced this month seeks to nullify a law passed last year by the Birmingham City Council for a citywide minimum wage of $10.10 an hour by mid-2017. If enacted, the state bill would also torpedo efforts to adopt local minimum wages in Huntsville and Tuscaloosa.