Difference between revisions of "Consumer Protections / Workers' Rights"

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(Wage Theft: details from a wage theft study performed (NOTE: details about min wage/overtime pay may want to move to relevant sections))
(SNAP Benefits: moving SNAP benefits to Benefits / Tax Cuts page)
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**Legal Services Corporation[http://www.latimes.com/politics/washington/la-na-essential-washington-updates-here-are-the-agencies-trump-s-budget-1489674246-htmlstory.html] provided low-income workers the ability to receive legal assistance to vindicate their rights on the job and to ensure that they receive the types of public benefits they are entitled to by virtue of living in poverty.[http://www.nelp.org/news-releases/on-president-trumps-budget-proposal/]
 
**Legal Services Corporation[http://www.latimes.com/politics/washington/la-na-essential-washington-updates-here-are-the-agencies-trump-s-budget-1489674246-htmlstory.html] provided low-income workers the ability to receive legal assistance to vindicate their rights on the job and to ensure that they receive the types of public benefits they are entitled to by virtue of living in poverty.[http://www.nelp.org/news-releases/on-president-trumps-budget-proposal/]
 
**Bureau of International Labor Affairs, which is a department that helps ensure workers around the world are treated fairly. The bureau would refocus itself to ensure that "U.S. trade agreements are fair for American workers." This change would eliminate the bureau's grant program[https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/labor-dept-cuts-target-job-training-programs-for-seniors-disadvantaged-youths/2017/03/15/4aba0966-0999-11e7-93dc-00f9bdd74ed1_story.html] that has provided funds for foreign programs like Youth Apprenticeship in Argentina, Costa Rica and Kenya.[https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/ilab/ilab20161114]
 
**Bureau of International Labor Affairs, which is a department that helps ensure workers around the world are treated fairly. The bureau would refocus itself to ensure that "U.S. trade agreements are fair for American workers." This change would eliminate the bureau's grant program[https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/labor-dept-cuts-target-job-training-programs-for-seniors-disadvantaged-youths/2017/03/15/4aba0966-0999-11e7-93dc-00f9bdd74ed1_story.html] that has provided funds for foreign programs like Youth Apprenticeship in Argentina, Costa Rica and Kenya.[https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/ilab/ilab20161114]
 
==SNAP Benefits==
 
*'''S'''upplemental '''N'''utrition '''A'''ssistance '''P'''rogram helps people buy healthy food.
 
*Trump has shown that he will act against key protections for Americans like SNAP with comments that the program "shouldn't be needed often", and that "when half of food-stamp recipients have been on the dole for nearly a decade, something is clearly wrong, and some of if has to do with fraud."[https://ballotpedia.org/Donald_Trump_presidential_campaign,_2016/Federal_assistance_programs#cite_note-10]
 

Revision as of 20:01, 18 March 2017

This is a collaborative knowledge base; feel free to propose edits/additions that you believe are important for others to know. Contributions will be reviewed and approved based on quality and accuracy.

How You Can Resist
How You Can Resist

Actions Taken by the Federal Government
Laws Proposed by Congress

Legislative Actions

Legislation that Supports Equity and Justice

  • S. 337 The FAMILY Act is a bill that entitles every individual to a family and medical leave insurance benefit nationwide, currently it is limited only to states with enacted legislation. The bill will grant up to 60 days of paid leave and the language is gender neutral.[1]
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  • H.R. 179 / S. 175 The Miners Protections Act of 2017 is legislation that would ensure that the federal government and coal operators honor their obligation of lifetime pensions and health benefits to retired miners and their families.
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Harmful Legislation

  • H.J. Res. 41 repeals a regulation by the SEC as part of the Dodd-Frank Act, requiring energy companies to disclose payments made to foreign governments.[2]
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  • HR 785 National Right to Work Act would reduce Union resources from which to collective bargain for both members and nonmembers.
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  • HR 1031 targets the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Dodd-Frank by removing consumer protections and regulations.
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See also the State and Local Pages for state-by-state legislative tracking.

Attempted Undermining of Unions

  • By law, unions are required to collectively bargain on behalf of both member and nonmember workers. Right to Work laws allow a state to prohibit unions from collecting fees from nonmembers to reduce contributions to help cover the costs of bargaining.[3]
  • Without the resources to support both members and nonmembers, union impact falls and a consequence is reduced wages in Right to Work states compared to states without the law.[4]
  • Right to Work laws have nothing to do with the right to have a job or be provided employment. Right to Work laws have nothing to do with whether people can be forced to join a union to contribute to a political cause they do not support; that is already illegal. [5]
  • Go to your State and Local Pages to see if your state is trying pass a Right to Work law.

Wage Theft

There is a core set of wage and workplace protections that help define America's Workplace:[6]

  • The right to be paid at least the minimum wage
  • The right to be paid for overtime hours
  • The right to take meal breaks
  • The right to access workers' compensation when injured
  • The right to advocate for better working conditions

According to a study performed by these guys on 4,387 low-wage workers, these rights are being denied to a significant amount of U.S. Workers:

  • 26 percent of workers were paid less than the legally required minimum wage in the previous work week[7]
  • 60 percent of workers were underpaid by more than $1 per hour[8]
  • Over 25 percent of respondents worked more than 40 hours during the previous week[9]
  • For workers that had overtime violations, the average of underpaid or completely unpaid was 11 hours of overtime work
  • Women were significantly more likely than men to experience minimum wage violations, and foreign-born workers were nearly twice as likely as their U.S.-born counterparts to have a minimum wage violation.[10]
  • Foreign-born Latino workers had the highest minimum wage violation rates of any racial/ethnic group[11]
  • African-American workers had a minimum wage violation rate triple that of their white counterparts[12]
  • 86 percent of respondents worked enough consecutive hours to be legally entitled to at least one meal break during the previous week. More than two-thirds (69 percent) received no break at all, had their break shortened, were interrupted by their employer, or worked during the break—all of which constitute a violation of meal break law.[13]

Overtime Pay Protections

  • An Obama administration regulation required employers to pay workers earning $47,476 or less time-and-a-half overtime pay for the overtime hours they worked. In November, a judge struck it down, keeping the amount at $23,660 or less to earn time-and-a-half overtime pay.[14]
  • Trump shows indications that he may raise the amount of money you have to earn below in order for your employer to be required to pay overtime, but not to what Obama was suggesting to roughly keep pace with inflation. One-third of salaried employees would have been eligible for overtime with the $913 threshold that Obama had created.[15]

Minimum Wage

  • Trump has sent mixed messages regarding the federal minimum wage, at one point calling for eliminating the federal minimum wage and at another point supporting increasing the federal minimum wage to $10.[16] Trump's attitudes regarding the minimum wage are of particular concern for people with disabilities, who are currently allowed to be paid a sub-minimum wage.[17]
  • Nineteen states began 2017 with increased minimum wages:[18]

MinimumWage.png

  • Minimum wage legislation can also be raised in your state. Go to State and Local Pages to see what your state is doing.

Cuts to Training and Placement Programs

  • With the recent 21 percent budget cut to the Labor Department budget[19], the Trump Administration has a clear goal of reducing funding for job training programs and workplace protections for seniors and disadvantaged youth.
  • Cuts to take place:
    • Senior Community Service Employment Program, which helps low-income job seekers age 55 and older find permanent work by pairing them with nonprofit organizations and public agencies. The Trump administration criticized the programs as "ineffective" because one-third of participants do not finish and only half who complete the program end up finding un-subsidized jobs.[20]
    • Job Corps, a program that provides workplace training for disadvantaged youth would close centers that "do a poor job educating and preparing students" for the labor force.[21] There would be no replacement program offered.
    • Legal Services Corporation[22] provided low-income workers the ability to receive legal assistance to vindicate their rights on the job and to ensure that they receive the types of public benefits they are entitled to by virtue of living in poverty.[23]
    • Bureau of International Labor Affairs, which is a department that helps ensure workers around the world are treated fairly. The bureau would refocus itself to ensure that "U.S. trade agreements are fair for American workers." This change would eliminate the bureau's grant program[24] that has provided funds for foreign programs like Youth Apprenticeship in Argentina, Costa Rica and Kenya.[25]