Around the Country, Organizations Show that Language Access in Health Care is a Human Right

During the week of December 6, organizations throughout the country hung banners with the message “Language = Life: Language in Health Care is a Human Right.”  They sent a clear message to the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services  that language access is right, not a privilege. Read more

Health Insurer Lobbying, Sopranos Style

It’s been public knowledge for a while now that the health insurance industry secretly funneled money to the US Chamber of Commerce to fund its smear campaign against health care reform in 2009. What we didn’t know, though, was just how much money. Now, thanks to some good investigative reporting by Bloomberg News, we do. And the magic number is… $86.2 million. Read more

Leader of 50 State Foreclosure Probe Tells Struggling Homeowners: “We Will Put People in Jail”

Iowa’s Attorney General Miller also agreed that principal reductions, loan modifications, and compensation for defrauded homeowners are all on his agenda

The lead Attorney General in the 50-state foreclosure investigation, Iowa’s Tom Miller, told homeowners at risk of foreclosure today that he supports a settlement with the big banks that requires significant principal rate reductions, loan modifications, compensation for citizens defrauded of their homes, and criminal prosecutions against big bank executives who broke the law. Read more

Still Hope For The DREAM Act

On December 8, the U.S. House passed the DREAM Act, a measure that would allow thousands of undocumented youth to continue their education and earn a path to citizenship. It has been nine years since the DREAM Act was first introduced in Congress. Now, it seems that the bill has a real chance of passing in both the House and Senate.  If the DREAM Act does pass, it would mean that over 2 million undocumented youth will finally be able to get on a clear path to U.S. citizenship.

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Living wage jobs are scarce in Northwest and Colorado

The recently released 2010 Northwest Job Gap Study, Searching for Work that Pays looks at living wages in each county in Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington. The study also compares the number of job openings paying a living wage to the number of job seekers in each state. The key findings are disturbing: 48% of job openings pay less than the living wage needed for a single adult. For working families, the situation is even worse: 81% of job openings pay less than the living wage needed for a family with two adults (one working) with two children.

These numbers are even more devastating when compared to the record profits that U.S. corporations are making. While millions are desperately trying to make ends meet, annual corporate profits hit an all-time high of $1.66 trillion according to a recent report from the Commerce Department.

The appalling disparities between people and corporations are brought to light by findings in this annual Job Gap study. The report calculates a living wage for a variety of family sizes, and then measures how many job openings pay that wage. Living wages are calculated for all counties in Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington.

A living wage allows a family to meet its basic needs without public assistance and provides some ability to save money for emergencies and to plan ahead.

The report finds that in the Northwest and Colorado, the living wage ranges from $13.54 an hour ($28,171 a year) for a single adult in Montana to $29.95 an hour ($62,288 a year) for a single adult with two children in Colorado.

The report also finds serious shortfalls between the number of people seeking work and the availability of jobs that pay a living wage. This is known as the “job gap.”

The job gap ranges from 7 job seekers per living wage job opening for a single adult in Washington to 57 job seekers per living wage job opening for a family of four in Montana. The lack of living wage jobs forces families to make impossible decisions, juggling scarce dollars between buying milk for the baby or gas for the car.

For many in the Northwest and Colorado, public investments in families and communities are more important than ever. Yet supports like unemployment insurance, child care, and basic health are threatened by the public revenue crisis, while corporate profits continue to escalate.

Searching for Work that Pays: 2010 Job Gap Study

The 2010 Job Gap Study looks at the availability of living wage jobs in Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. This report provides calculations of:

  • A living wage for all counties in Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington;
  • The percent of job openings that pay a living wage in each of these states; and
  • The ratio of the number of living wage job openings to the number of people looking for work.

Click here to download the full report. Read more

Facing Race: 2010 Legislative Report Card on Racial Equity (Washington)

This report card assesses the racial impacts of decisions made in the 2010 Washington legislative session, looking at a range of policy areas, from economic justice to health to civil rights and more. A collaborative effort of many racial justice organizations, the report collectively and individually grades Washington’s legislators on their votes that either promoted or obstructed racial justice.

Click here to download the full report. Read more

Establishing State Exchanges that Serve People, Not Insurance Profits

Health care reform, if fully realized, will provide health insurance coverage for an additional 30 million people in America. One of the main ways this will happen is through the creation of centralized health insurance marketplaces, or “state exchanges.” If set up properly and well, people without insurance will be able to go to their state exchange and acquire quality health insurance at affordable prices. Members of the Health Rights Organizing Project (HROP) are engaged in implementation campaigns to make sure there is no “if” about how these exchanges are set up. Read more