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On July 23, 250 Washingtonians spent a rare sunny Seattle Saturday in a leadership conference!
WashingtonCAN’s annual Summer Leadership Conference was attended by about 250 committed community members. Turnout included people from WashingtonCAN, Working Washington and other progressive organizations and labor unions across Washington. Folks from Vancouver to Tacoma to Spokane participated.
Workshop topics ranged from Holding Banks Accountable and Knowing Your Rights with Police and ICE, to Direct Actions, Building a Movement for Jobs, and Fighting Structural Racism.
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.
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.
On February 17th, 200 Denver activists turned out on the busy corner of 17th and Lincoln in front of the Wells Fargo building to call on Congress to listen to people, not profits. Colorado Progressive Action, joined by a coalition of community-based organizations, pointed to powerful corporations like Wells Fargo as the prime roadblocks to realizing the promise of change in America.