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February

Demonstrate a Greater Love

 

This February 14th, Interfaith Worker Justice asks you to demonstrate a greater love: the love of justice. On the day we normally reserve for romance, fancy dinners, chocolates and flowers, we ask you to spare a moment to help us work for paid family and medical leave benefits.

Did you know that the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leaves out 40 percent of the workforce and guarantees only unpaid leave, which millions cannot afford to take?

Unfortunately, this means that millions of Americans can’t provide care when their loved ones are suffering from a serious illness or injury. They are not able to be present when family members need it most. And only 17 percent of Americans have paid leave through their employer so the majority have to choose between succeeding at work and taking care of a sick child, a newborn or an ailing parent.

Today, we ask you to express your love not only to your Valentine, but also to workers by contacting your representative and letting them know that you support the Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FAMILY) Act.

Will you demonstrate a greater love?

By standing with workers who need time off to care for family members, you will work toward justice. By sending a letter to your elected officials, you will demonstrate your love. We can’t think of a better way to celebrate Valentine's Day!

New Jersey passes $15 minimum wage

Yesterday marked a historic day for working people in the state of New Jersey. After years of effort, New Jersey became the fourth state in the country to pass a $15 minimum wage bill. This would not have been possible without the tireless effort of dozens of organizations working together to get this done!

A coalition of worker centers, unions, and faith groups had workers participate by meeting with legislators, holding rallies, and giving testimonies to the State Assembly and Senate Labor Committees. The intention was for a $15 for ALL bill to include domestic workers; the final bill has carve-outs giving small businesses (with 5 employees or fewer) until 2026 to reach $15, versus 2024 for the majority of workers.

“Besides being the morally correct thing to do, this will help local economies as folks have more money for purchases and won’t have to choose between which item is most essential to buy that week because of low wages. It's a step in the right direction, but there is still much to be done. We need it on the federal level too. When we fight we win!” said Louis Kimmel, Executive Director of New Labor, an IWJ affiliate based in New Jersey.

IWJ is not only grateful for the work being done on the ground in New Jersey, but also for our affiliates’ work in California, New York, and Massachusetts where a $15 minimum wage bill has already been passed, as well as for our affiliates in the 20 states and 40 counties and cities that also raised their minimum wages. When we work together, working people win! So congratulations to every person and organization who worked so hard to get these bills across the finish line.

But the struggle is far from over. There are ongoing campaigns in Congress and in more than 15 other states to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. And in most states, we still need to ensure that workers are actually receiving their increased wages by passing anti-wage theft legislation. We can and will make it happen by working together! Visit Why America Needs a 15 Minimum Wage to find out more about the current bill in Congress. You can also voice your support for a $15 minimum wage by becoming a co-signer of the "Raise the Wage Act of 2019".

Letter Urging Backpay for Federal Contract Workers

The Honorable Mitch McConnell
The Honorable Charles Schumer
The Honorable Richard Shelby
The Honorable Patrick Leahy
The Honorable Ron Johnson
The Honorable Gary Peters
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
The Honorable Kevin McCarthy
The Honorable Nita Lowey
The Honorable Kay Granger
The Honorable Elijah Cummings
The Honorable Jim Jordan
United States House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Members of Congress:

The undersigned organizations write in support of efforts to secure back pay for employees of federal contractors who were unpaid during the recent government shutdown.   Just as Congress rightly provided back pay for federal employees who were furloughed or unpaid during the shutdown, Congress should also provide back pay for the contract employees who face extreme financial hardship as a result of going over a month without their paychecks.

Over the past few decades, the federal government has contracted out more and more of the jobs and functions federal employees once performed.   For every federal worker hired, there are almost two more contract workers hired, for a total of about 3.7 million according to 2015 estimates from the Volcker Alliance.  These jobs include the women and men who clean federal buildings, staff cafeterias and concession stands, process payments, and provide vital tech support to federal agencies.

These federal contract workers help keep our nation running, even if their paychecks aren’t cut directly by the U.S. government, and they need their paychecks just as badly as federal employees and deserve the same considerations when the government shuts down.

 As Congress negotiates a deal to secure funding for the rest of the fiscal year, we urge you to do everything within your power to provide back pay for the contract workers throughout this country who have suffered just as grave a financial injury as federal employees did during this shutdown.  Equity demands that they too be made whole for the injuries they suffered.

9to5
A Better Balance
AFL-CIO
Amara Legal Center
Autistic Self Advocacy Network
Center for American Progress
Center for Law and Social Policy
Center for Progressive Reform
Child Care Law Center
Coalition on Human Needs
Community Labor United
DC Bar Pro Bono Center
Demos
Equal Rights Advocates
Futures Without Violence
Hill Snowden Foundation
Interfaith Worker Justice
Interfaith Worker Justice San Diego
International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers
International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace, and Agricultural Implement Workers of America, UAW
Jobs With Justice
Main Street Alliance
Mississippi Workers’ Center for Human Rights
MomsRising
MoveOn
National Council of Jewish Women
National Nurses United
National Partnership for Women & Families
National Women's Law Center
Oxfam America
Policy Matters Ohio
SafeWork Washington
Service Employees International Union
The United Methodist Church – General Board of Church and Society
Voices for Progress
West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy
Women Employed
Women’s All Points Bulletin, WAPB

January

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