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Low-Income Tax Relief, California Health Care and Public Financing in Washington

Low-Income Tax Relief, California Health Care and Public Financing in Washington

Thursday, January 31st, 2008

Labor Day: How States Can Protect Workers Rights

In honor of Labor Day, we thought we would highlight some of our past Dispatches which outline steps states can take to protect workers' rights and raise wage standards. With new Census data showing that the median income for working-age households is still $1,300 below 2001 when the last recession hit bottom, the need for states to act to improve working conditions is greater than ever.

Living Wage: Maryland Enacts First State Law in Nation

This week, Maryland became the first state to enact a "living wage" law, HB 430, requiring government contractors to pay their employees a decent wage, in the bill ranging from $8.50 an hour in rural areas to $11.30 an hour in areas of the state with higher costs of living.  Maryland follows the 120 local governments around the country that have required that public money go to companies that pay their workers above the poverty line.

CA: A Living Wage for Airport Hotel Workers

This week, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa approved a new city law requiring hotels near the LAX airport to pay the same living wage as those companies receiving government contracts: $9.39 an hour if the hotels provide health insurance or $10.64 an hour without benefits.

LegAlert

Congress Considers Gutting Minimum Wage for One Million Workers (To download a printable PDF version of this LegAlert, click here.) H.R. 5970, The Estate Tax and Extension of Tax Relief Act of 2006, recently passed the U.S. House.

CA: State Rules FedEx Drivers Employees, Not Contractors

For years, the delivery company FedEx has claimed that its ground drivers are not employees but independent contractors-- meaning the company didn't have to pay for workers compensation, unemployment insurance or extend a range of other worker protections.

Chicago: Groundbreaking Retail Workers Living Wage Law Passes

By a vote of 35 to 14, the Chicago city council yesterday approved a new ordinance requiring large retailers in the city to phase in a living wage for their employees of $10 per hour plus $3 per hour in benefits-- the highest minimum wage established for any industry sector in the country. If signed by the mayor, the law would raise pay for tens of thousands of workers in retailers such as Wal-Mart, Target, Toys R Us, Lowe's and Home Depot. A broad coalition of organizations including ACORN, labor unions and church groups worked together for its passage.

DC: Big Box Wage and Benefits Bill Introduced

Following Chicago's lead, DC Councilman Phill Mendelson has introduced a bill to require large retailers such as Wal-Mart and Costco to pay employees a living wage of $11 an hour plus health benefits worth at least $3 a hour. The bill also would give labor groups and the public access to public areas of a firm to communicate with employees about their rights. As we detailed in last week's Dispatch, a major committee and a majority of Chicago City Council members have endorsed a similar bill for that city.