Working Poor in America: The Harsh Reality Facing Our Nation’s Low-Wage Workers

Date: November 15, 2013

Tens of millions of Americans go to work every day, put in long hours, and do their job well for wages so low that they often cannot meet their families’ basic needs. As more jobs pay too little, and offer few if any benefits, how do our country’s low-wage workers make ends meet? What are their biggest worries and concerns? Do they feel like they have a fair chance to get ahead? What do they think would help them on the job and in life? Oxfam America commissioned Hart Research Associates to conduct a comprehensive national telephone survey of low-wage workers to begin to answer these questions.

This briefing will feature Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) and former Rep. Jim Walsh discussing policies and the politics of efforts to improve the economic circumstances of America’s nearly 60 million low-wage workers. The briefing will also present the Oxfam survey’s key findings, followed by comments and discussion involving leading experts and a low-wage worker. What does the growth of low-wage work in America mean for the future of the economy, and what can policy makers do to address these issues? There will be time for the audience to engage the speakers.


  • Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota)
  • Former Rep. Jim Walsh (R-New York)
  • Guy Molyneux, Hart Research Associates
  • Heidi Shierholz, Economist, Economic Policy Institute
  • Worker/Activist, Making Change at Walmart (to be determined)

Moderated by:

  • Andrew Yarrow, Senior Research Advisor, Oxfam America

When: November 15, 2013, 9:30 to 11:15 am

Economic Policy Institute
1333 H St. NW
Suite 300
Washington, DC 20005