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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Workers ask President Obama to raise their wages

Today's post was shared by Steven Greenhouse and comes from america.aljazeera.com


President Obama has also shown sympathy for the issues of low-wage workers, although the minimum wage increase he's expressly supported -- to $9 an hour -- is still less than what activists usually consider a "living wage."
"I think the president's heart in the right place," Ellison said. "We’ve just got to get his pen on the right place."
Federal contractors employ over a fifth of the American civilian workforce, and more than 560,000 of these workers earn $12 or less an hour, according to Demos, a liberal think tank. Many of them are cleaners and concession workers in federal buildings. If you include all the low-wage jobs funded by public dollars, including the 1.2 million paychecks underwritten by Medicare and Medicaid, the total, Demos found, surpasses the low-wage workforce of Walmart and McDonald’s combined.
Labor group Good Jobs Nation, backed by the Service Employees International Union, organized three smaller building-specific strikes earlier this year, as well as a city-wide labor action in May. It’s part of a larger strategy by unions and labor activists to push for higher wages in the largely non-unionized workforces of retail and fast food. Organizers called Wednesday's event the largest low-wage federal worker strike to date. Both Ellison and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) gave passionate speeches at the event.
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