Despite these constraints, Trumka continued Sweeney’s commitment to working closely with other progressive movements, to pushing the policy envelope leftwards (Trumka chaired the board of the Economic Policy Institute), to promoting a vision of the common good that was sometimes broader than that of some of his union brothers and sisters.
The Economic Policy Institute reports that even Black women who are essential workers face a pay gap of about 11-27% less than white men. Black female nurses, for instance, earn about $28.47/hour while non-Hispanic white men earn $34.87 for the same job.
The study adds that occupational segregation often limits the access Black women have to higher-paying jobs, and that the pandemic saw a disproportionate share of women, especially Black women, become unemployed. 18.3% of Black female workers lost their jobs compared to 13.2% of white men.
Virtually every Econ 101 class teaches the trickle-down myth that workers are paid what they are worth, and locking the minimum wage into national productivity numbers would be a way to finally ensure that claim is true.
This is the figure that would do the most for American workers. As a recent Economic Policy Institute paper found, productivity has increased by over 72% from 1979 to 2019, while worker pay has only increased by 17%.
President Joe Biden and most Democrats have been calling for a drastic increase in the federal minimum wage, to $15 from $7.25. While a handful of states and many prominent companies have taken matters into their own hands, raising their minimum wages well into the double digits, other states are tied to the federal minimum wage, which hasn’t changed since 2009. Where does your state fit in, and are there any changes on the horizon? We examined data from the Economic Policy Institute to find out.
The closures mark a new, unfortunate, phase in the slow reopening of society. But the reality is that for many people, particularly people of color, working remotely has never been an option. In June, the progressive Economic Policy Institute found that only one in six Latinx workers and one in five Black workers have been able to telework during the pandemic, compared to one in four white workers.
The disparities are even more severe along educational lines. In April, a third of workers with a bachelor’s degree or higher were teleworking. Only one in twenty workers with a high school degree or less were able to do the same.
Costs in Virginia were already high before the pandemic. In 2019, the Economic Policy Institute said that Virginia ranked No. 10 on the list of states with the most expensive child care. That year the average annual cost of infant care in Virginia was more than $14,000. For a 4-year-old, the annual cost was nearly $11,000.
Within the American economy, hourly compensation and the productivity of workers have grown disproportionately. Between 1979-2019, the Economic Policy Institute found, employees have increased productivity by 72%, but their wages have only increased 17% in the last forty years.
In 2020, the data shows, the average C.E.O. of an S. & P. 500 company made $15.5 million—two hundred and ninety-nine times as much as the median-paid employee. Although we do not have directly comparable numbers going back in time, a forthcoming study by Lawrence Mishel and Jori Kandra of the Economic Policy Institute tracks the average C.E.O.’s pay and the average worker’s pay (and the ratio of one to the other) for the three hundred and fifty largest public companies in the United States. They estimate that, in 1978, the average C.E.O. made $1.7 million, adjusted for inflation, which was 31.4 times the average worker’s pay. Since that time, the share of all wages and salaries collected by the highest-earning one per cent of Americans has almost doubled, reaching its current level of about thirteen per cent. Roughly forty per cent of the people who make up that one per cent are executives, and their escalating compensation, Mishel and Kandra argue, has spilled over to other top managers in for-profit firms and large nonprofits alike. The power of example aside, today’s corporate executives frequently derive financial benefit from actions (outsourcing, downsizing, merging, defeating union drives) that directly or indirectly reduce pay and opportunity further down the line. In this way, too, executive pay has arguably been a significant driver, and not just a symptom, of rising inequality. That insight has led a growing number of local, state, and federal lawmakers to develop policy proposals that would reward or penalize companies based on their pay ratios.
Her income was enough that her fiance could stay home withthe two children they had at that point. Day care for an infant and a toddler in Dayton could cost around $800, according to the Economic Policy Institute.
Price increases are generally quite small relative to the increase in workers’ wages, wrote Ben Zipperer, an economist at Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning think tank, in an email. There are three major ways businesses respond to higher labor costs after raising wages, he says. First, companies receive some cost savings, as higher wages help retain workers, reducing the need to spend on recruiting and training them. Businesses also see some reduction in profits, and pass along some small price increases, he says.
Thirty-nine U.S. corporations reaping over $120 billion in profits between 2018 and 2020—the first three years of the so-called “GOP tax scam”—paid no net federal income tax, or claimed refunds during that period, a report published Thursday by the Institution on Taxation and Economic Policy revealed.
Indeed, a 2019 report from the Economic Policy Institute and the Center for Popular Democracy showed that the TCJA “delivered big benefits to the rich and corporations but nearly none for working families.”
According to an Economic Policy Institute report, 92 percent of the 2.2 million domestic workers are women, and just over half are women of color. These women are the nannies, housekeepers and health aides who work inside homes and in assisted living homes, senior and childcare centers to provide caregiving and cleaning services.
The Economic Policy Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank created in 1986, focuses on the needs of low- and middle-income workers in economic policy discussions, according to its website.
An EPI blog post on Wednesday pointed out as the COVID-19 delta variant spreads across the country, and hospitalizations rise, states with low vaccination rates — such as Missouri and Arkansas — have become more vulnerable to economic disruption.
In Arkansas, a law going into effect prohibits state leaders from implementing mask mandates and declaring public health emergencies, according to EPI.
“The policy also prohibits local governments from enforcing mask mandates, though private businesses are permitted to require masks if they choose,” it said.
EPI also called on Missouri to restore federal pandemic unemployment insurance benefits.
“The economic situation in Missouri is likely to get worse before it gets better,” the post said. “Even if the state does not mandate lockdowns or similar measures, a resurgence of COVID-19 cases will slow economic activity in many ways.”
“The final step Arkansas and Missouri policymakers should take is enacting paid sick leave,” the EPI said. “Workers exposed to COVID-19 should not have to choose between working while sick or being unable to pay their bills.”
During the earlier wave of the pandemic (in 2020), EPI said, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act provided some sick leave for workers at businesses employing fewer than 500 people, but the provisions expired at the end of the year.
In Tulsa, the median household income for a White family is roughly double that of a Black family, according to the city’s 2020 Tulsa Equality Indicators report. Nationally, the median Black family earns 61 cents for every dollar a median White family owns, according to the Economic Policy Institute.
This bill has been endorsed by the AFL-CIO, the Economic Policy Institute, Service Employees International Union, the National Employment Law Project and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union. Original cosponsors of this legislation include Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), and Rep. Chuy Garcia (D-Ill.).
Heidi Shierholz, the director of policy at the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute, previously told Insider that raising the minimum wage could be one simple solution to the labor shortage. Another prominent figure agrees with her: President Joe Biden recently said that businesses will need to pay $15 or “be in a bind for a little while.”
“Los últimos datos salariales muestran que los trabajadores agrícolas no fueron recompensados adecuadamente: ganaron sólo $14.62 dólares por hora en 2020, mucho menos que incluso algunos de los trabajadores peor pagados de la población activa estadounidense”, dice Daniel Costa, director de investigación en derecho y política de inmigración en el Economic Policy Institute, en un reciente análisis.
Con esta media salarial, los trabajadores agrícolas ganaron 60 por ciento menos que los trabajadores en otras industrias en cargos bajos (no de supervisores) y de producción, quienes ganaron en promedio unos $24.67 dólares por hora en 2020.
“Esta brecha salarial prácticamente no ha cambiado desde el 2019”, agrega Costa.
Según explica Costa, los datos más confiables para saber los ingresos de los trabajadores agrícolas vienen del Servicio Nacional de Estadísticas Agrícolas (National Agricultural Statistics Service o NASS, por sus siglas en inglés) en el Departamento de Agricultura de Estados Unidos (USDA), que realiza trimestralmente la Encuesta sobre el Trabajo Agrícola (Farm Labor Survey o FLS por sus siglas en inglés).
Además, los trabajadores agrícolas ganaron menos que otros trabajadores con niveles bajos de educación. “Los datos más recientes muestran que los salarios de los trabajadores agrícolas son extremadamente bajos desde cualquier punto de vista, incluso si se comparan con los de los trabajadores no agrícolas en situación similar y con los trabajadores con los niveles de educación más bajos”, dice Costa.
“A pesar de esta sombría realidad, no se adoptó ninguna medida federal para proteger a los trabajadores agrícolas, que fueron designados como esenciales pero siguieron recibiendo algunos de los salarios más bajos del mercado laboral estadounidense”, dice Costa.
Other states on track to a $15 an hour wage floor include California, Illinois, New York and Virginia. Ben Zipperer, an economist at the liberal Economic Policy Institute, estimates that four in 10 workers live in states where the minimum is set to reach $15 in the coming years.
Non-competes are documents that an employer can force a new hire to sign agreeing to not compete against that company if they leave their job. About half of private U.S. businesses require employees to sign such agreements, the Economic Policy Institute found in a 2019 study.
According to a 2019 study from the Economic Policy Institute, about half of private U.S. businesses require employees to sign such agreements.
Adding to the inflationary pressure are wages, which are rising. In a rare, Onion-esque sarcastic headline, the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute wrote, “Newsflash: Higher pay attracts workers.” While some companies can absorb higher employee costs, others are passing them along to consumers, which Economist Diane Swonk of Grant Thornton believes could mean that “Some of the inflation we are experiencing could linger.”
It’s a matter of saying this is a critical part of our infrastructure. It’s necessary to support families, it’s necessary to support our economy, and it’s necessary to make sure the people doing this work are not worried about feeding their own families. The problem is getting movement on that, getting the general public, and our legislators to support that in full.
Some of my colleagues at the Economic Policy Institute have done some estimates to help us understand what the harm is and what the loss is for not doing that. They’ve estimated that parents are foregoing $30-$35 billion in income and lost household income because they either have to leave the labor force, or reduce their hours.
Recent action “signifies a shift that I hope will then launch into a much broader proactive agenda,” said Heidi Shierholz, senior economist at the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute, who served as the Labor Department’s chief economist during the Obama administration.