News Release

Labor Day

HOLLY SKLAR
Co-author of the just-released book Raise The Floor: Wages and Policies That Work For All Of Us, Sklar said today: “A job should keep you out of poverty, not keep you in it. Most Americans believe that. But as we celebrate Labor Day, hardworking Americans [who are] paid minimum wage have to choose between eating or heating, health care or child care. At $5.15 an hour, they earn just $10,712 a year. That’s a third less than in 1968, when the minimum wage was about $8, adjusting for inflation. A couple with two kids would have to work a combined 3.3 full-time minimum wage jobs to make ends meet. It just doesn’t add up. Let’s stop shortchanging workers with the minimum wage, and make it a living.”
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KIM BOBO
Bobo is the founder and executive director of the National Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice. She said today: “I serve on the soup kitchen committee at my church and see many families forced to make ends meet by eating at the soup kitchen. Many of those who frequent our soup kitchen work full-time jobs that do not pay livable wages. I hate to admit it, but we are underwriting the costs of employers paying sub-livable wages…. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that over 50 percent of new jobs created in the society don’t pay enough to lift a family of three out of poverty…. It’s time for these outlaw businesses to stop doing a job on their workers.”
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JOSE LANDAVERDE
A day laborer who also works with the Latino Workers’ Union of Chicago to fight for the rights of day laborers, Landaverde said today: “In some neighborhoods in Chicago, 65 percent of Latino workers are day laborers. Most of these workers are women. Companies are firing permanent workers to get temporary workers, so they can make more money — the same reason they move to Mexico. Mostly, the workers get $5.15 per hour, but sometimes companies take out for transportation and processing checks, so the worker gets even less. A typical day laborer makes $5,000 per year; so you have four or five families living together in an apartment. This is not healthy, it’s not how a normal family should live. Companies are greedy. They are looking for money, not family values. We want day labor agencies regulated, we have over 1,000 cases pending before the Department of Labor in Chicago of day labor agencies which have not paid workers. Mayor Richard Daley is close to the owners of Windy City, a day labor agency that has contracts with the city. It’s industry getting what it wants and making deals with the politicians.”

ELIZABETH DRAKE
International financial analyst with the AFL-CIO, Drake said today: “In an increasingly globalized economy ruled by institutions lacking basic transparency and accountability, inequality is rising both between and within countries. The IMF and World Bank routinely require countries to privatize their public services and cut public sector jobs and wages and erase worker protections. These policies not only hurt workers in the developing world, they speed up the global race to the bottom.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; Norman Solomon, (415) 552-5378