Tag Archives: full-time

House vote today on bill to change ‘full-time’ definition for health care law

The U.S. House of Representatives is set to vote today (Jan. 8) on H.R. 30, a Republican bill that would change the Affordable Care Act’s definition of full-time work so that employers only have to offer health insurance to employees who regularly work 40 or more hours a week.

Without this change, employers must offer coverage to employees who regularly work 30 or more hours a week.

Progressive groups say the legislation is bad for American workers and families, and especially bad for women because:

• Millions more American workers could face a reduction in working hours if H.R. 30 passes because employers could escape the requirement to provide health insurance by cutting the hours of the 44 percent of Americans who work 40 hours a week. These workers would not only go without health insurance through their job, but they have lower earnings to take home.

• Women work in jobs that employers may target for fewer hours. More than half a million restaurant workers, over half a million health care workers and over 440,000 education workers are considered “most vulnerable to work hours reduction,” according to the National Women’s Law Center.

• A million fewer Americans will have employer-based health insurance if the bill passes.

• H.R. 30 would increase the federal deficit by $53.2 billion over 10 years.

The measure is titled the Save American Workers Act of 2015, but the legislation puts millions of American workers at risk of losing full-time work, takes away employer health insurance and raises the federal deficit, according to Dania Palanker, senior counsel with NWLC.

Economists endorse $10.10 minimum wage

Seven Nobel Prize-winning economists and eight former presidents of the American Economic Association have signed a letter to Congress and the president endorsing a gradual increase in the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour.

The letter urges lawmakers to enact a three-step raise of 95 cents a year for three years, which would mean a minimum wage of $10.10 by 2016, and then index it to protect against inflation. The increase would mean minimum-wage workers who work full-time all year would see a raise from their current salary of roughly $15,000 to roughly $21,000.

The economists supported legislative proposals in the House and Senate that also would raise the tipped minimum wage to 70 percent of the regular minimum.

“Let’s be clear: Our federal minimum wage of just $7.25, which has not budged in more than four years, is now a poverty wage. No American who works a full-time job should have to struggle to put food on the table or pay the bills,” said U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, a Democrat and the chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. “All around the country, we’re seeing the impact of growing income inequality and stagnant wages on millions of American families. Raising the minimum wage will help narrow the income gap and enable millions of low-wage working Americans to make ends meet.”

Harkin, added, “As the letter released by the Economic Policy Institute shows, economists and experts agree that raising the minimum wage isn’t just the morally right thing to do, it’s also the smart thing to do for our economy, sending $22 billion into the economy and adding 85,000 jobs over three years thanks to higher consumer demand. Now is the time for action.”

The signatories include:

• Nobel Laureates Kenneth Arrow, Peter Diamond, Eric Maskin, Robert Solow, Thomas Schelling, A. Michael Spence, Joseph Stiglitz;

• Alan Blinder, former vice chair of the Federal Reserve System’s Board of Governors and former member of the Council of Economic Advisors;

• John Bates Clark Medal recipient and MacArthur Fellow Emmanuel Saez;

• Laura Tyson, former chair of the Council of Economic Advisors and former director of the National Economic Council.

• Former American Economic Association presidents William Baumol, Angus Deaton, Avinash Dixit and Claudia Goldin.

Wisconsin Democrats propose hike in minimum wage

Democratic lawmakers Cory Mason of Racine, Robert Wirch of Somers, Nikiya Harris of Milwaukee and Eric Genrich of Green Bay are circulating for co-sponsorship a bill that would gradually raise Wisconsin’s minimum wage to $10.10 per hour and index it to inflation. 

“Wisconsin’s working families deserve a raise,” said Mason in a news release issued on Jan. 9. “More and more of our nation’s wealth is going to the richest few, while the cost of gas and groceries increases, and family income stagnates. It is long past time for those at the bottom of our economic ladder to get a raise.” 

Wisconsin’s minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. The lawmakers said that an individual working full-time at that wage earns about $15,000 a year, significantly less than the poverty level for a family of four. More than 600,000 Wisconsin workers would benefit from a wage increase to $10.10 per hour. 

Said Wirch, “The reality is that you simply can’t live on the current minimum wage, and the public is starting to recognize that we need to do something. If the minimum wage had kept pace with inflation over the last 40 years, it would already be over $10 per hour. Sadly, minimum wage workers continue to fall further behind. Studies show that those making minimum wage spend nearly all of what they earn, so the increase will provide a boost not just to those working families, but to our businesses and economy, as well.”

Harris, in the release, said, “It is unacceptable that individuals who work full-time cannot support their families or meet their basic needs.” 

Genrich added, “I’m proud to co-author a reasonable increase in Wisconsin’s minimum wage. As a tried-and-true anti-poverty tool, a fair minimum wage will improve the lives of thousands of working Wisconsinites and empower them to support their families without assistance.” 

The Democrats hope to introduce legislation next week.

If enacted, Wisconsin’s minimum wage would immediately increase to $8.20 per hour and reach $10.10 per hour two years later. This legislation is similar to the “Fair Minimum Wage Act,” introduced in Congress by U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin and U.S. Rep. George Miller.

Walmart workers strike for full-time jobs, against retaliation

Walmart workers in several areas of the country walked off the job on May 28 to protest the retail giant’s efforts refusal to improve employment conditions.

The strikers in South Florida, the San Francisco Bay Area and in Massachusetts encouraged other Walmart workers in other areas to join them in the “prolonged” strike.

Also, the Organization United for Respect at Walmart, a national organization of Walmart associates, has been calling on the nation’s largest private employer to create better jobs.

With more than $16 billion in annual profits and executives making 1,000 times more than the average Walmart employee, a growing number of associates are calling for the company to publicly commit to providing full-time work with a minimum salary of $25,000 a year.

Workers also are demanding that Walmart cease retaliation against those campaigning for workplace improvements.

The company, according to a news release, “has attempted to silence these voices through illegal retaliation, meritless lawsuits and even firing workers.”

The retaliation has led OUR Walmart to file nearly 30 federal labor charges against the retailer.

“Walmart needs to address our concerns about hours and staffing, rather than trying to silence us with lawsuits and threats. We’re on strike and taking our concerns directly to Walmart executives and shareholders because we cannot continue to let Walmart try to intimidate and silence committed associates like Carlton and Vanessa,” said Dominic Ware, who has worked at Walmart in Oakland, Calif., for two years.

“Walmart can only do what we allow them to do and we need to stand up and let them know that what they are doing is not OK with us and we are taking a stand,” said Barbara Gertz, who works at a Walmart in Denver.