Families Out of Balance: Living Wages Move Families from Survive to Thrive

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August 26, 2014
Contact: Kathy Mulady
(206) 992-8787

Read the Families Out of Balance report here.

Low-income families are already struggling to meet basic needs. Factor in suffocating household debt, and it is clear that families not making a living wage have little chance of building for the future.

As the gap between minimum wages and living wages continues to grow, we find that low-income households face a disproportionate debt burden — to an alarming degree. Families are forced to navigate a system that sets them up to fail, resulting in painful kitchen table conversations as households confront impossible balance sheets.

Job Gap: Families Out of Balance, produced by the Alliance for a Just Society, is the first report in the Alliance’s 2014 Job Gap Economic Prosperity Series. This study examines just what it takes to move beyond living paycheck-to-paycheck and the challenges that low-income families burdened with debt face.

The report also includes living wage findings for five household types in 10 states and in New York City. The Alliance has produced a Job Gap Study on jobs and wages since 1999. Continue reading “Families Out of Balance: Living Wages Move Families from Survive to Thrive”

Job Gap: Working Families Struggling, Sliding Deeper into Debt

JobGapNYSMeme2Debt – it’s become so entrenched in our daily lives that it’s almost a given. Debt is often a choice for higher income families, as an investment in the form of a mortgage or as a means to help pay for college.

However, lower-income households often end up in debt because their incomes leave them living paycheck-to-paycheck without a cushion for even minor incidentals. When an someone gets sick, the doctor bills pile up. If they attend college to improve their job opportunities, the student loan debt piles up.

It is an impossible balance sheet, resulting in families cutting back on necessities like health care, meals, or heat in the winter as they try to scrape by.

Today, Alliance for a Just Society released Families Out of Balance, the first report in the 2014 Job Gap Economic Prosperity Series. The report shows exactly how dramatically lower-income workers are disproportionately burdened by debt.

In addition, the reports shows that minimum wages in 10 states studied across the country fall far short of a living wage – even without adding debt to the equation. Continue reading “Job Gap: Working Families Struggling, Sliding Deeper into Debt”

Leaders, Businesses in Washington, Oregon and Idaho Calling for Immigration Reform Now

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For Immediate Release, July 3, 2014

Leaders and organizations representing businesses and communities throughout Washington, Oregon and Idaho are powerfully combining their voices, calling on elected officials in the U.S. Congress to take action now on immigration reform.

While recognizing that passing immigration reform this year is challenging, they also understand the dire economic consequences that failing to do so will have on our communities, our businesses, our families and our country.

As we look forward to Independence Day on July 4, celebrating our identity as a nation built through immigration, they are joining to send this clear message to our congressional delegations: “Do it now. We cannot afford to wait any longer.”

“Comprehensive immigration reform is key to continued prosperity in Washington and the Puget Sound region,” said Maud Daudon, president and CEO of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. “We want to encourage the best and brightest workers from around the world to come help grow our economy and make sure our companies have the workforce they need to compete globally.” Continue reading “Leaders, Businesses in Washington, Oregon and Idaho Calling for Immigration Reform Now”

Daley Weekly: D.C. Summer Nastiness is in Full Bloom

billD.C.  Summer

The political season is in full flower in D.C. Lots of things are being proposed and voted on in both Houses of Congress that will not become law any time soon. There is no looming debt default or government shutdown, so everyone simply is taking a stick to everyone else. They will be doing this for a solid three weeks in July.

Immigration Confrontation

A huge confrontation is coming on immigration. Two months ago Speaker John Boehner seemed to be prepping his caucus to take a vote on some version of reform. The Administration seemed to be doing things to accommodate this possibility. Events: Eric Cantor’s loss, Obama’s falling approval ratings, international crises in Ukraine and the Middle East, economic stagnation, the children’s march into the arms of ICE.

Instead of pushing reform, some House Republicans are calling for a cessation of deferred prosecutions – deporting record numbers of people apparently is not enough. All of this comes on the backdrop of a wildly unpredictable election season. What happens if inaction in the House continues? Obama cannot but react, he is being invited into a confrontation.

Things got started in earnest last week when Speaker Boehner began readying a lawsuit over executive power. At week’s end, Obama bluntly told Boehner that if the Speaker did not like him using his legal authority, then the Congress could very well do something about immigration.  More will come soon as the debate widens over what to do with the refugee crisis on the Southern Border. Continue reading “Daley Weekly: D.C. Summer Nastiness is in Full Bloom”

Grassroots Victory! $15 Minimum Wage Passes in Seattle

Screen shot 2014-06-02 at 4.50.47 PMThe Alliance for a Just Society congratulates Seattle on making history today by unanimously passing a path to a $15 minimum wage – the highest in the nation. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray said he would quickly sign the legislation into law.

More than 100,000 workers – disproportionately women and people of color – work minimum wage jobs in Seattle and will directly benefit from the increase. The whole city will benefit from the City Council’s courageous action.

“The victory in Seattle sets the stage for minimum wage victories in other states and nationally. We can’t wait for legislators to decide what’s best for working families, we have a responsibility to step up, be heard, and make change ourselves,” said Alliance Executive Director LeeAnn Hall. Continue reading “Grassroots Victory! $15 Minimum Wage Passes in Seattle”

Reversing the Trend: A Longitudinal Study of Living Wage and Minimum Wage

Screen shot 2014-05-28 at 11.03.10 AMA new report, “Reversing the Trend” by the Alliance for a Just Society, finds that Mayor Ed Murray’s minimum wage proposal reverses a minimum wage trend that is increasingly unable to meet the basic living needs of workers. Seattle’s proposed $15 minimum wage would be the highest in the country.

Analyzing more than a decade of data, this chart shows that while the path to a $15 an hour minimum wage is a step in the right direction toward addressing income inequality – living wage still exceeds projected minimum wage levels offered in the mayor’s model.

In addition, the study shows that a $15 minimum wage would not have been enough to support a single parent and child even back in 2003, and it would not have been enough to make ends meet for a single person as far back as 2010. Continue reading “Reversing the Trend: A Longitudinal Study of Living Wage and Minimum Wage”

Consent to Search: Beyond Cell Blocks Webinar Series Continues

consent to searchIn 2010, after a lengthy fight, Colorado passed a state law that required police officers to inform people of their constitutional right to refuse a search of their person and/or property. The goal of the law was to reduce traffic stops, searches and intimidation stemming from from discrimination.

Law enforcement officers at the time said the legislation threatened their ability to do their jobs. Supporters of the law said it would force police to focus on probable cause and not waste resources on fishing expedition-type searches. The debate drew sharp focus Constitutional protection from unlawful search and seizure and the right to refuse. Continue reading “Consent to Search: Beyond Cell Blocks Webinar Series Continues”

Four Day Organizer Training Intense, Inspiring

four-day groupTwo dozen new leaders and staff members from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Colorado gathered at Southside Commons, location of the Alliance for a Just Society headquarters in Seattle on May 13-16 for an intense West Coast Four Day Organizer Training.

The training was developed and coordinated by Darlene Huntress, executive director of Oregon Action. Continue reading “Four Day Organizer Training Intense, Inspiring”