Following President Obama’s State of the Union address, Interfaith Worker Justice Executive Director Rudy López issued the following statement:
President Obama delivered a message grounded in core values shared across faith traditions: to love one’s neighbor as oneself and to treat each other with dignity and respect. If we truly want our communities and our economy to thrive, we must care for and invest in people and families first.
One step in that direction is the president’s proposal that gives all workers seven days of paid sick leave a year and assistance to help states start their own paid family and medical leave programs. No one should face the impossible choice of caring for their health or keeping their paycheck or job. But millions of workers are forced to make this decision every time they or a family member needs care. We thank the president for his leadership on this issue.
We also support the presidential memorandum that makes it easier for federal employees to take up to six weeks of “maternity” leave by advancing paid sick leave. No mother should be forced to choose between spending time with her newborn child or earning a living.
We believe income inequality is a moral issue that threatens the health and well-being of our country. Religious scripture tells us: to whom much is given, much is expected. We encourage President Obama to move our nation in the direction of shared prosperity for all Americans.
As people of faith, we are called to advocate for wages and working standards that honor the human dignity of workers. We urge the president to lead a bipartisan effort on raising wages, finding new ways to support workers and addressing the growing inequality of wealth and opportunities in the nation.
We at IWJ ask this administration to take action on issuing a simple but significant regulation that could help address the nation’s growing problem with wage theft: Paystubs for All. Workers who don't have access to documentation that explains how their pay is calculated are more vulnerable to wage theft. When tens of millions of dollars of unpaid wages are stolen from workers annually, we believe that a paystubs regulation is an important complementary step for raising workers' incomes. We urge the president to help make Paystubs for All happen.
Finally, we need real and meaningful immigration reform. While we applaud the president’s temporary fix, we urge him to continue to push congress for a permanent solution. Every day, in this nation of immigrants, families are torn apart, workers are exploited and human dignity is ignored – and our entire country cannot move forward as a result. Our nation is hungry for real immigration reform. For as long as immigrant workers are left vulnerable to poverty wages and abuse, and families are ripped apart by deportation, we cannot fully address income inequality nor can we move forward as one nation under God.:
Now it's your turn to let Rudy know what YOU thought about the president's message. Email him at rudylopez at iwj.org.
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