The Poverty Trap of the Hourly Worker

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Watch and read:  Once again, Bill Moyers & Company tell the timely (Labor Day weekend) story of part of labor in the United States that many of us do not notice in our hectic lives.  In the link below and it’s accompanying video we are introduced to the leaders of two groups organized to fight for basic rights of groups largely and maybe intentionally ignored: “National Domestic Workers Alliance”  and “Jobs With Justice”.   The work of these organizations and their leaders Ai-jen Poo and Sarita Gupta have helped to move an issue that was basically invisible into the lens of some of our national leaders.  As the article says, these hourly workers “aren’t living paycheck to paycheck; they’re living hour to hour.  How can people working under these conditions set a budget? How do they schedule medical appointments or arrange care for their children? In addition to dealing with their erratic schedules, retail workers are often required to be on call — making sure they are available without any guarantee of a shift.”  As these issues have begun to register in the media some of our leader have taken note and begun to help.  “The Schedules That Work Act — introduced last month by Representatives George Miller (D-CA) and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), along with Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) — is … critical.”  Increases in the minimum wage are important but there are many other issues that make life as an hourly worker extremely difficult, if not impossible, like “the right to request a predictable or flexible schedule.”  Watch the video, read the article, check out the embedded links, but most important, support these movements.





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