December, 2014

New Studies Highlight Growing Wealth Gap

image via www.greenberg-art.com

image via www.greenberg-art.com

Two new studies by the Pew Research Center show that America’s wealth gap has reached record levels.  In one study, Pew Research found that the median wealth of our country’s upper-income households was nearly seven times the median wealth of middle-income households in 2013—resulting in the largest wealth gap in 30 years since the Federal Reserve began collecting these data.

In another study, Pew Research found that wealth inequality by race and ethnicity has grown since the Great Recession. The analysis, also based on data from the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances, finds that the recovery from the Great Recession has been very selective, with the wealth of white households leveling off between 2010 and 2013 as the economy began to heal. The wealth of black and Hispanic households, however, has continued to decline.  The wealth of white households in 2013 was 13 times the median wealth of black households and is now more than 10 times the wealth of Hispanic households. The level of inequality between black and white households has not been seen since 1989—which makes the current racial and ethnic wealth gap at the highest level in 30 years since the data have been available.

 

A Victory for Retail Workers in San Francisco

140729_rwborLast week, the Retail Workers Bill of Rights became law in San Francisco—making the city the first in the nation to address the industry specific problems retail workers face every day, including unpredictable scheduling. 

The new law, which is a package of two separate pieces of legislation, requires retailers with at least 20 employees and 20 or more locations worldwide to give retail workers their schedules at least two weeks in advance.  The new law also discourages abusive on-call scheduling practices by requiring retailers to provide their employees with an extra two-to-four hours of pay if changes to schedules are made with less than 24 hours’ notice; promotes full-time work and access to hours; and protects retail workers from losing their jobs when their company is bought or sold.

The Retail Workers Bill of Rights serves as a model for how individual cities can tackle income inequality and improve the quality of jobs in the retail sector, and the Retail Justice Alliance applauds the city of San Francisco for standing up for working families.

 

What the Waltons Can’t Buy

We did it. We said that this Black Friday would be bigger than ever. And thanks to support from communities, organizations, and faith leaders around the country, we made history.

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There are some things that even the richest family in America, the Waltons, can’t buy – people-power, hope, and respect just to name a few. This year, along with our support, Walmart workers sent a clear message to Walmart and the Waltons: America deserves better.

Making Change at Walmart sends our thanks to every individual who helped make this Black Friday season one to remember. From Anchorage to Orlando, Chicago to New Orleans, we made a huge impact:

  • Protests in all 50 states & at 1,600+ Walmart stores.
  • Walmart workers from more than 2,250 stores signed a petition calling for $15 & full time.
  • #WalmartStrikers trended nationally on Twitter.
  • #WalmartStrikers trended nationally twice on Facebook, bumping Kim Kardashian and Star Wars.

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Martin Luther King, Jr. said “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” It’s not easy standing up to a multi-billion dollar corporation, but the more people learn about how Walmart treats its workers, the more our movement continues to grow.

No one in America should work at a company with $16 billion in profits, run by a family with more than $150 billion in wealth and be unable to put dinner on the table. Walmart workers are standing up for their families and for all families who are struggling to make the American Dream a reality.

We are starting to see changes at Walmart, and we know we can win. With your ongoing support, change is possible.

Be sure to share our accomplishments on social media, so our communities can continue spreading the word.

Worker-led Protests Highlight Need for a Living Wage and Full-time Hours

rja photoLast week and for the third year, current and former Walmart workers who are members of OUR Walmart made history.  Leading up to and on Black Friday, OUR Walmart members and thousands community supporters held 1,600 protests across the country calling for Walmart to respect their right to speak out for better jobs at our country’s largest private employer—making the 2014 Black Friday actions even more widespread than last year. And today, fast food workers are making history as well as they go on strike in 160 cities across the country as part of the “Fight for 15” campaign.

As more and more workers take to the streets to call for respect, and better wages and benefits, it’s becoming very clear that our country’s current low-wage, part-time economy where a few are doing well and the rest are struggling is unsustainable.  The Retail Justice Alliance stands with these brave workers in their fight for respect, a living wage, and a pathway to a better life.