140531_hvq_webpost

May 31, 2014

Stand With Care Workers – and Against the Right Wing

Anti-worker forces are at it again. The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is challenging the rights of home care providers to collectively bargain. This extremist right-wing group with ties to the ultra-conservative Koch Brothers and ALEC has brought its legal case all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court. In the Roberts court – which has ruled in favor of corporations time and time again – we’re hoping for the best, but bracing for the worst. The Supreme Court will issue its decision anytime in June.

These frontline caregivers, who provide life-changing care for our loved ones, have been fighting to improve their insufficient job standards for years. Hundreds of thousands of these workers now have collective bargaining rights, and just in the last year, nearly two million home care workers finally secured the right to earn a minimum wage and overtime. Now is the moment to raise these workers up – not cut them down.

Sign our petition to stand with care workers and against shameful right-wing attacks now!

140527_respectthebump_web

May 31, 2014

Walmart Moms Deserve Better

At Walmart stores across the country, many employees are afraid to say they’re pregnant for fear they will lose their jobs or be forced to take early leave they can’t afford.

Candace Riggins, a pregnant Walmart employee, asked for a small accommodation – to be moved away from the chemical fumes that were irritating her to a cashier or floor associate position. Instead of meeting with Candace to talk about accommodations, the store manager avoided Candace with excuses. Even after asking for accommodations and being denied, she continued to work and later passed out and had to go to the hospital twice. Her doctor’s opinion is that her work could be causing the complications.

And Candace isn’t the only one. Many women have similar stories and have no choice but to go to work, concealing their pregnancy while performing duties that their medical providers warn may hurt them or their unborn babies. From climbing ladders and lifting heavy goods to scrubbing bathrooms with dangerous chemicals and being refused bathroom breaks, these women endure conditions that put their health at risk, simply because Walmart refuses to make simple changes1 to help them continue to work as productive team members.

Now Walmart is facing class action legal claims about its lack of pregnancy accommodations2; it needs to take the health of its pregnant workers seriously!

After expectant Walmart workers, Walmart moms, women’s organizations and supporters from the Jobs With Justice network called on Walmart to address its arcane pregnancy policy, Walmart took the first step in addressing these complaints by finally extending basic accommodations for pregnant women experiencing temporary disabilities caused by pregnancy3 – a very simple adjustment Walmart had refused to make in the past.

But now it’s time to call on Walmart to extend these simple adjustments to ALL pregnant women who have a medical need for them – whether they have complications or a normal pregnancy.

As the largest private employer of women in the country, Walmart should set the standard for how women workers are treated throughout the industry and our economy. No woman should be forced to live in fear or risk their health simply because she wants to have a family. Tell Walmart, it’s time to do better for Walmart moms.

References:
1 http://www.abetterbalance.org/web/ourissues/fairnessworkplace/293-pregnant-workers-at-walmart
2 http://www.msmagazine.com/news/uswirestory.asp?ID=14928
3 http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/04/05/under-pressure-walmart-upgrades-its-policy-for-helping-pregnant-workers/

140514_SallieMaeredux

May 18, 2014

Tell the Department of Education to End Its Contract With Sallie Mae Now!

Federal regulators just ordered Sallie Mae to pay $97 million in penalties plus restitution for violating multiple laws, including overcharging 93 percent of active duty servicemembers and mishandling borrowers’ payments to maximize late fees and penalties.

Despite mounting evidence showing how Sallie Mae has been ripping off federal student loan borrowers for years, it’s still possible the Department of Education will renew its multimillion-dollar contract with the shady company next month.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan needs to hear from as many of us as possible that it’s unacceptable for the Department of Education to be in business with a company taking advantage of taxpayers, students, members of the military and minority and low-income borrowers.

The current contract actually stipulates that violating federal law is grounds for termination, but we know the agency won’t act without massive public pressure. So far, Secretary Duncan has only instructed his department to review “what appropriate actions, if any” should be taken against Sallie Mae. Seriously?

Tell Secretary Duncan there’s just one appropriate action to take: Cancel the contract with Sallie Mae!

140427_raisethewage

April 28, 2014

URGENT: Tell Your Senators to Raise the Minimum Wage

With our federal minimum wage stuck at $7.25 an hour, too many people working full-time can’t afford to take care of their families and make ends meet. While the cost of living in America continues to rise, big profitable corporations are choosing not to increase their employees’ pay.

This week, senators are expected to vote on a proposal to give a raise to tens of millions of workers.

The Fair Minimum Wage Act would raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10, raise pay for tipped workers and tie the minimum wage to inflation. This bill would give a much-needed boost to 30 million workers, jump-start our economy and take an important step toward ending poverty wages.

There’s a groundswell of support for increasing the minimum wage, but lobbyists representing big fast food and retail companies are swarming the Capitol to stop it.

Write your senators NOW and urge them to VOTE YES on the Fair Minimum Wage Act.

NAT_140331_web_duncan

March 31, 2014

Email Secretary of Education Arne Duncan Now!

Did you know 33 million people who are saddled with federal student debt are eligible for one of the Department of Education’s affordable loan repayment programs – but only 1.6 million are enrolled.

Why is such a key lifeline so underused? Borrowers don’t even know the programs exist. The Department of Education hasn’t told more than 80 percent of eligible borrowers about their options to make their loans more manageable.

As one of the largest financial institutions in the country, the agency literally has the responsibility to promote these programs that could aid distressed borrowers earning low wages or carrying major debt loads. By not widely promoting them, the department appears to be prioritizing its bottom line at the expense of borrowers who are increasingly going into default.

Email U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to inform eligible borrowers about their loan repayment options NOW!

140326_immigrationdischarge

March 26, 2014

Help Force a Vote on Comprehensive Immigration Reform

This week we finally have an opportunity to break through the obstruction of House Republican leaders who are needlessly holding up immigration reform. There’s a groundswell of support for a comprehensive solution to fix our broken immigration laws, but Speaker Boehner and his leadership team have been dragging their feet, blocking any chance for meaningful reform.

Today Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi announced the launch of a discharge petition to force a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives on H.R. 15, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act. Modeled after the bipartisan Senate bill, H.R. 15 isn’t perfect, but it does include a pathway to citizenship and strong protections that will help ensure bad employers can’t exploit workers in the shadows of the economy. It also removes the controversial “border surge” amendment that was tacked on to S. 744 at the last minute.

Don’t be fooled by the complicated terminology – a discharge petition is simply the procedural method for House members to get an up-or-down vote on a bill when the Speaker and his lieutenants obstruct the normal legislative process.

Having this way to demand a vote is welcome news for immigrant rights and workers’ rights advocates who have been raising their voices on the need for the House to vote on a permanent immigration solution. As our executive director Sarita Gupta commented in a statement:

“Each day that Speaker Boehner and House Republicans are able to put off a vote on immigration reform is another day that families are needlessly torn apart and standards for all workers are lowered. Cases of bad employers using the broken immigration system to retaliate against workers blowing the whistle on labor abuses continue to mount. Mothers and fathers who have done nothing more than ask that employers respect their basic workplace rights continue to be deported.”

This is a put-up or shut-up moment for Republicans and Democrats who have said publicly that they want to solve our immigration crisis. Just 218 signers are needed on the discharge petition to make sure we get an up-or-down vote this year. Will you call your representative and ask her or him to sign on to the discharge petition for H.R. 15? Call now at 1-877-683-6270. Here’s a call script to help you out:

Hi, as a concerned [STATE] constituent in favor of comprehensive immigration reform, I’m calling to urge [YOUR REPRESENTATIVE’s NAME] to sign Representative Joe Garcia’s immigration reform discharge petition to demand a vote on H.R. 15. Thank you.

The ball is clearly now with the House of Representatives to fix our profoundly broken immigration system. Help motivate them to act. Please take two minutes to make a call to your representative today!

140309_minwageaction

March 7, 2014

Tell Your Representative to Raise the Wage!

With our federal minimum wage stuck at $7.25 an hour, too many people working full-time can’t afford to take care of their families and make ends meet. While the cost of living in America continues to rise, big profitable corporations are choosing not to increase their employees’ pay.

The Fair Minimum Wage Act would raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10, raise pay for tipped workers and tie the minimum wage to inflation. This bill would give a much-needed boost to 30 million workers, jump-start our economy and take an important step toward ending poverty wages.

Your voice really matters here: lobbyists representing big fast food and retail companies are counting on Representatives John Boehner and Eric Cantor to prevent a vote on this bill. But with just 218 signatures, the Fair Minimum Wage Act can have its day on the House floor.

Write your representative today and urge him or her to sign the Fair Minimum Wage Act discharge petition now!

Image credit: DCL

February 13, 2014

Tell Dirty Jobs Host Mike Rowe to Meet With Walmart Workers

TV host Mike Rowe, a longtime champion for working people in our country, is the voice of Walmart’s new PR stunt that promises to bring back American manufacturing by putting more U.S.-made products on its shelves. Mike said he did the campaign because he wants to see Walmart succeed at helping rebuild our country. But we think that rebuilding needs to start with the company paying workers more than poverty wages.

Walmart workers like Janet Sparks understand that all too well – which is why they’re asking to sit down with Mike Rowe and talk about how Walmart can really change.

Will you write Mike Rowe and ask him to meet with Walmart workers? Send your email now >>

Photo by Stop Fast Track

January 28, 2014

Say NO to Fast Track

Given that we’re used to a slow moving Congress, it’s understandable that “Fast Track” legislation sounds promising. Unfortunately, Congress will soon consider “Fast Track,” which would limit debate and prevent amendments in Congress on trade deals. Such expedited authority would make it much easier to pass future trade agreements, including the proposed anti-worker Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.

Jobs With Justice opposes “Fast Track”  because it is a license to continue trade policies written by the 1% for the 1% without an ability to hold our country’s negotiators accountable for provisions that hurt working families.

Trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, drafted by special interests in the backrooms of power, should be subject to vigorous democratic debate. “Fast Track” limits Congress’ ability to oppose specific provisions within trade agreements that would never pass on their own. We know from the record of failed trade deals like NAFTA that these provisions have a devastating impact on workers and their communities.

Americans deserve a fair process that gives Congress the opportunity to influence trade deals and to send bad trade deals back to the negotiating table for improvement. If you agree, join with Jobs With Justice and groups across the country who are calling on Congress this week to say NO to fast track.

UPDATE – 2/6/14: Last week, hundreds of thousands of people across the country attended protests, rallies, and contacted their members of Congress to voice their opposition to any legislative attempts to fast track bad trade deals. In response, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) publicly confirmed he had no interest in advancing “Fast Track” legislation in the Senate, despite the Obama administration’s urging.

Unfortunately, there’s still momentum to rush through dangerous free-trade agreements in the House of Representatives.

Call your representatives at 202-224-3121 right now and tell them to vote NO on S.1900/H.R. 3830, the Baucus-Hatch-Camp “Fast Track” legislation. (You can look up them up here!)

Learn more about why fast track is bad policy below or in this must-read editorial by former House Democratic Whip and Jobs With Justice board member David Bonior.

walmartstrike

December 7, 2013

Take Action: Walmart Is Not Above the Law!

Time and time again, when Walmart workers call on the company to address low wages, erratic schedules, paltry benefits, and unacceptable working conditions, the retail giant has silenced or outright fired them.

It’s unfair and illegal for Walmart to retaliate against its associates for speaking out for good jobs that support families. Over a million men and women work at Walmart and get paid such low wages that they can’t afford to put food on their tables. Walmart’s not just ripping off workers, they’re ripping off taxpayers by making their employees rely on food stamps and other public assistance.

We need to make our voices heard so that Walmart does right by its employees.

Sign our petition demanding Walmart stop intimidating and retaliating against employees who are standing up for a better jobs and a better economy for all of us.