We Love You, Dad!

From the AFL-CIO

Six years ago, President Barack Obama started a program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, known as DACA, which temporarily gave security to nearly a million immigrants brought to the United States as children. On this Father’s Day weekend, as we celebrate our families while children are torn from the arms of parents seeking asylum in the United States, it’s time for all working people to look to our core values as a labor movement and a nation of immigrants. We must do better.

The increasingly harsh treatment of immigrants and those seeking asylum in America has become a political flashpoint, because of its shocking cruelty and because it is part of the larger effort by the right wing to divide working people while rigging the economic rules to keep us all poor.

Working people are taking a stand in defense of immigrants, because policies like DACA and TPS protect a vital part of the American workforce and clear the way for ALL working people to stand together and fight to improve pay and working conditions.

America’s union movement urges us to follow a better path. Keep families together. Honor our national commitment to DACA and TPS recipients. And finally fix our broken immigration system, so more families can celebrate Father’s Day together.

For those not persuaded by humanitarian reasoning, there’s this: $3.5 billion. That’s how much more wealth America would create if participants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and temporary protected status programs became citizens, making it possible for workers across the board to win higher pay and better benefits.

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Posted In: From AFL-CIO, Union Matters

Union Matters

Federal Minimum Wage Reaches Disappointing Milestone

By Kathleen Mackey
USW Intern

A disgraceful milestone occurred last Sunday, June 16.

That date officially marked the longest period that the United States has gone without increasing federal the minimum wage.

That means Congress has denied raises for a decade to 1.8 million American workers, that is, those workers who earn $7.25 an hour or less. These 1.8 million Americans have watched in frustration as Congress not only denied them wages increases, but used their tax dollars to raise Congressional pay. They continued to watch in disappointment as the Trump administration failed to keep its promise that the 2017 tax cut law would increase every worker’s pay by $4,000 per year.

More than 12 years ago, in May 2007, Congress passed legislation to raise the minimum wage to $7.25 per hour. It took effect two years later. Congress has failed to act since then, so it has, in effect, now imposed a decade-long wage freeze on the nation’s lowest income workers.

To combat this unjust situation, minimum wage workers could rally and call their lawmakers to demand action, but they’re typically working more than one job just to get by, so few have the energy or patience.

The Economic Policy Institute points out in a recent report on the federal minimum wage that as the cost of living rose over the past 10 years, Congress’ inaction cut the take-home pay of working families.  

At the current dismal rate, full-time workers receiving minimum wage earn $15,080 a year. It was virtually impossible to scrape by on $15,080 a decade ago, let alone support a family. But with the cost of living having risen 18% over that time, the situation now is far worse for the working poor. The current federal minimum wage is not a living wage. And no full-time worker should live in poverty.

While ignoring the needs of low-income workers, members of Congress, who taxpayers pay at least $174,000 a year, are scheduled to receive an automatic $4,500 cost-of-living raise this year. Congress increased its own pay from $169,300 to $174,000 in 2009, in the middle of the Great Recession when low income people across the country were out of work and losing their homes. While Congress has frozen its own pay since then, that’s little consolation to minimum wage workers who take home less than a tenth of Congressional salaries.

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A Friendly Reminder

A Friendly Reminder