More than fifty years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. captivated the nation with his historic "I Have a Dream" speech. His words signaled that the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom would continue, just as his life and work continue to inspire Americans from all walks of life. Today, we celebrate Dr. King's extraordinary legacy and look ahead to the challenges facing us in realizing his vision.
Just a few days after Christmas, 1.3 million unemployed Americans still searching for a job abruptly lost their unemployment benefits because some in Congress refused to extend the program. Through 2014, five million Americans will be cut off from this economic lifeline, with thousands or tens of thousands of people harmed in each state. Here's why extending the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program matters to the states.
In recent years, right-wing state legislators across the country have been stepping up their work to enact an anti-worker agenda on behalf of powerful corporate interests. As explained in the Economic Policy Institute's recent report, “The Legislative Attack on American Wages and Labor Standards, 2011-2012,” these alarming legislative efforts are coordinated on a national scale, massively-funded, and insidiously effective. The wave of legislative proposals designed to undermine wages and labor standards, for union and non-union workers, included the following....
As the nation counts down to several looming deadlines, all eyes are on Washington. In the states, elected leaders, policy experts, and businesses alike are closely watching the developments, not just because of the devastating local impacts of a shutdown or the catastrophic chaos of default, which experts fear could send the country back into a recession if not depression. Coming on the heels of news of record high income inequality in the United States, we are facing policy outcomes that will either make it worse or make it less bad -- both within each state and across the states.
Today, state legislators like Arizona Rep. Juan Mendez and State Sen. Steve Gallardo are joining workers, other elected officials, and advocates in strikes and protests across the country. Momentum has been building for months, but heading into Labor Day weekend and coming on the heels of the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington For Jobs and Freedom, the timing couldn’t be more fitting. Whether they’re in the fast food industry or retail sales, ordinary workers are still marching on for a voice on the job and a better life for their families. As they carry on the unfinished business of making our economy work for everyone, they’re also demanding the ability to form unions in those industries. The idea is simple: people should be able to join together when going up against corporate executives to negotiate for decent wages and benefits.
This week, state legislators from across the nation are converging on Atlanta, Georgia for the annual Legislative Summit of the National Conference of State Legislatures - and Progressive States Network will be there as well!
State legislatures have seen an onslaught of anti-worker legislation in the past two years, with conservative legislators exploiting economic fears to dismantle collective bargaining rights and impede progress on labor standards. Yet, in statehouses across America this year, progressive leaders remained dedicated to fighting for workers’ rights and continued to advocate for legislation that will ensure greater economic security for all citizens. Here is a look at some of the inspiring victories and continuing challenges faced by state lawmakers who sought to advance policies to ensure economic security for working families in sessions this year:
On the fourth anniversary of the last federal increase in the minimum wage, a leading national group of state legislators joined other elected officials across the nation in calling for an increase in the minimum wage at both the state and federal levels, stressing the positive impact that raising the wage would have across the entire economy.