April, 2013

National Retail Justice Alliance and Other Stakeholders Address Economic Struggles of Part-Time Workers in Hearing with Congresswoman Barbara Lee

Oakland, Calif. – The National Retail Justice Alliance, in partnership with the UFCW, Allen Temple Baptist Church, Women’s Economic Agenda Project, and the Alameda Labor Council, hosted a hearing today in Oakland with Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) to highlight the economic plight of part-time workers in retail and other service industries.  The hearing also underscored the need for the Part-Time Worker Bill of Rights Act of 2013 (H.R. 675), which would extend protections to part-time workers in the areas of employer-provided health insurance, family and medical leave, and pension plans.

The Part-Time Worker Bill of Rights builds upon the progress of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and ensures that part-time workers (defined as working less than 30 hours a week) and their families have access to critical workplace benefits.  The ACA penalizes employers who fail to provide health insurance to full-time workers, but includes no such penalties for employers who deny health coverage to part-time workers.

“Millions of Americans work in the retail and service industries, and many of those jobs are part-time with lower pay than their full-time colleagues, and few benefits,” said Dr. Steven Pitts, a labor policy specialist at the Center for Labor Research and Education at the University of California-Berkeley and a member of the National Retail Justice Alliance. “As our nation’s economy relies more and more on part-time, low-wage work, policies like the Part-Time Worker Bill of Rights are needed to address the widening gap of those working without a safety net for retirement, health care, and family leave.”

In addition to Lee and Pitts, state and local leaders, economic experts and part-time workers also spoke at the hearing which took place at the Allen Temple Baptist Church.

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The National Retail Justice Alliance is dedicated to raising the living and working standards of retail workers in the United States.  By working in collaboration with a broad base of opinion leaders, organizations and communities, the National Retail Justice Alliance builds support for workers in the retail industry through advocacy, education and research to promote sustainable jobs, living wages, affordable health care and fair public policies.  For more information, visit www.retailjusticealliance.org.

Retail Justice Alliance and Other Stakeholders Will Address Economic Struggles of Part-Time Workers in Oakland and Los Angeles

Representative Barbara Lee

Next week, the National Retail Justice Alliance, in partnership with other stakeholders, will host hearings in Oakland and Los Angeles to highlight the economic plight of part-time workers in retail and other service industries.  The hearings will also underscore the need for the Part-Time Worker Bill of Rights Act of 2013 (H.R. 675), which would extend protections to part-time workers in the areas of employer-provided health insurance, family and medical leave, and pension plans.

Representative Barbara Lee (D-Calif. 13th District) is scheduled to speak at the hearing at Oakland, which will take place on Tuesday, April 30 at the Allen Temple Baptist Church. Representative Judy Chu (D-Calif. 27th District) is scheduled to speak at the hearing in Los Angeles, which will take place on Thursday, May 2 at East Los Angeles College.

April 30th: Justice For Part-Time Workers

HearingFlyer April 30 FINALThe Part-Time Worker Bill of Rights, introduced by Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) seeks to level the playing field and protect the millions of part-time workers in retail and other service industries.

The Part-Time Workers Bill of Rights could help part-time workers gain access to healthcare coverage, Family Medical Leave Act leave, and pension plans. On April 30th hear from Congresswoman Barbara Lee, economic experts, legislators, and workers on how helping part-time workers can help our economy.

New data confirm need for livable wages for retailers and service industry workers

New data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics confirm the need for livable wages for retailers and workers in the service industry.  The new data show that workers in the retail industry typically make about $25,000 per year—a far cry from the nation’s average annual pay of $45,790.

The retail sector is the largest industry by employment in the United States, and is projected to add almost 1.8 million jobs between 2010 and 2020—more than any other industry except construction. Although the retail sector is one of the fastest growing sectors in the country, many retail workers are struggling to survive in low-wage jobs with inconsistent hours and few benefits.

Academic studies, including a recent report by Demos, provide quantitative evidence that retailers, workers and the U.S. economy can benefit if retail companies invest in their workforce.  According to the Demos report, raising wages for full-time retail workers at the nation’s largest retail companies (those employing at least 1,000 workers) would result in improving the lives of more than 1.5 million retail workers and their families who are currently living in or hovering above poverty.

For more information, visit http://money.cnn.com/2013/04/01/news/economy/jobs-wages/.