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  1. Living Wages Stephanie Luce, City University of New York November 9, 2013 Santa Rosa, CA

  2. Tough Times for Workers • 28% of workers earn poverty level wages • Almost 38 million people • 55 million people are earning wages below 125% of the federal poverty line • For a worker with two kids, that would be $11.50 an hour

  3. Who are Low-Wage Workers? • Average low wage worker is in their 30s • Majority have completed at least some college • Have been in their job at least a few years • Most are making a significant contribution to household income • Most live in families earning less than $40,000 a year • Disproportionately women and people of color

  4. Los Angeles Airport A study of workers covered by living wage at LAX found: • 86% of covered workers work full-time • 58% of workers were 35 years old or older • On average, 20 years in the workforce

  5. “We make it, they take it”Wages and productivity, 1947-2011

  6. Corporate Profits Soar

  7. Living Wage Movement • Over 125 city and county ordinances since 1994 • Wages range quite a bit, and often give a rate with health care, or more without • Indexed to inflation • Petaluma, CA: $13.31 or $14.93 • Santa Barbara, CA: $12.88 or $16.39 • Santa Cruz County, CA: $14.79 or $16.13 • Philadelphia, PA: $10.88

  8. Additional Provisions • Paid and unpaid sick days • Local hiring • Worker retention • Responsible bidder/contractor • Protection from retaliation • Card check/neutrality • Union opt-out • Full-time hours

  9. Outcomes • 333,000 workers directly impacted • 666,000 indirectly impacted • Estimated over 1 billion in wage increases • Dozens of new union organizing or assisted in union contract negotiations • Discourages outsourcing

  10. Research Shows • Wage increases make a significant impact on workers lives (in Boston, a 60% increase in annual income) • Employers report lower turnover • Some employers convert part-time to full-time jobs • No job loss • No harm to local business climate

  11. Not all Positive • Wages are still below *real* living wage for many • No guarantee of minimum hours • Implementation poor in some places • Few workers covered, relative to 38 million working poor

  12. Are they worth the effort? • Wage gains are relevant to those impacted • Challenge “austerity” model of governance • Assists unionization • Builds coalitions • Education about low wages, poverty • Groundwork for other efforts, such as paid sick days, community benefits agreements

  13. Moving Forward • Citywide minimum wage • Living wage zones – LAX hotels, Long Beach CA • “Big Box” and other economic development– Chicago, D.C., New York • Airports • Arbitration • State level – living wage, minimum wage, EITC, COLAs