New York Magazine
New York Times
Retail work does not have to pay poverty wages. New study compares work in Europe and the U.S. For all the power of market forces, from automation taking over routine tasks to globalization squeezing retailers’ margins, there is nothing inevitable about low-quality retail jobs. Social norms and political institutions can make them better, or worse.
It’s been almost a decade since the Great Recession, and America has witnessed a record 82 months of month-on-month jobs growth. The national unemployment rate now stands at a 4.3%, a 16-year low. But month after month, it is the low-wage sectors – fast food, retail, healthcare – that have added new jobs. Wage growth has barely kept pace with inflation. The national minimum wage ($7.25) was last raised in 2009.
In These Times
Fight for $15 organizers have a long list of grievances against SEIU. They say they themselves do not get $15/hour. They are worried about the instability of their jobs and a tendency of the union to ramp up staff for one campaign, then shift only some of the staff to the next project. Ultimately, some workers say, SEIU's position may undermine public support and open up lines for employer attacks. See SEIU's response below.
Higher pay scales for longer-term employees would likely further reduce turnover and increase loyalty, says Erin Johansson, research director at Jobs With Justice. It would also reduce the burden on tax-paying Americans, who shell out more than $1.2 billion each year to cover public assistance programs for McDonald's employees, according to a recent study by the National Employment Law Project.
The Nation - Jan. 25/Feb. 1, 2016 issue
In July, Emeryville, California, passed the highest city-wide minimum wage in the country. Here's how workers' lives changed - and didn't. As the gears of federal government have ground to a halt, a new energy has been rocking the foundations of our urban centers. From Atlanta to Seattle and points in between, cities have begun seizing the initiative, transforming themselves into laboratories for progressive innovation.
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Low pay, abusive conditions, no union representation - employees are fed up and fighting back. About 255,000 people work directly in Juárez's 330 maquiladoras, about 13 percent of the total nationally, making Juárez one of the largest concentrations of manufacturing on the US/Mexico border. Almost all the plants are foreign-owned. Eight of Juárez's 17 largest factories belong to US corporations,