State Battles Roundup

Posted by admin on May 24, 2015

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State Battles Roundup

Photo courtesy WFIU Public Radio on Flickr

In many states, legislative sessions have ended recently or are about to end and local governments are often active year-round. This means tons of legislation, both good and bad, is moving, providing opportunities for working families and their allies to pass laws that will help make people’s lives easier or stop laws that will make things worse. Here is a look at some of the key state battles that recently have passed or could be on the agenda this week or next.

Indiana: Gov. Mike Pence (R) signed a series of anti-worker bills, including a repeal of the prevailing wage for construction and the prohibition of local governments from establishing their own local prevailing wage laws, a law that both weakens wage theft rules and allows companies to charge employees up to 5% of their salary for required uniforms and equipment, the undermining of teachers’ voices on the job, and others.

Massachusetts: The Boston City Council unanimously passed a new ordinance providing for up to six weeks of paid parental leave after the birth or adoption of a child for certain city employees.

Minnesota: The Minneapolis City Council passed a measure that will allow city workers to earn up to three weeks of paid parental leave. The plan goes into effect in July.

Missouri: Extreme members of the state legislature used a procedural move to get past a filibuster and ram through “right to work” legislation, although Gov. Jay Nixon (D) has indicated he will veto the measure when it gets to his desk.

New Jersey: Two union members won local elections last night, bringing to 817 the number of candidates to graduate from the New Jersey State AFL-CIO Labor Candidates program and win election to office. John Amodeo of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 825 won a seat on the Margate City Commission and Harry Kumburis of IUOE Local 68 was elected to the Cedar Grove Township Council.

New Mexico: The Albuquerque City Council passed a equal pay measure that provides incentives for companies that offer equal wages to both female and male employees.

Executive PayWatch 2015: CEO Pay Continues to Skyrocket

Executive PayWatch 2015: CEO Pay Continues to Skyrocket

CEOs of the nation’s largest corporations received a 16% pay raise in 2014, and the pay gap between CEOs and the typical worker widened to 373-to-1, according to the latest data from the AFL-CIO Executive PayWatch. Top executives of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index companies received, on average, $13.5 million in 2014, even as the average production and nonsupervisory worker earned only $36,000 in annual salary in 2014.

The data from the 2015 Executive PayWatch underscore the work that needs to be done to combat the nation’s persistent income inequality and push for higher wages for working families. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka asked more of the country’s big corporations:

America faces an income inequality crisis because corporate CEOs have taken the raising wages agenda and applied it only to themselves. Big corporations spend freely on executive perks and powerful lobbyists to strip rights from workers, but when it comes to lifting up the wages of workers who make their companies run, they’re nowhere to be found. Too often workers are seen as costs to be cut, rather than assets to be invested in. Americans deserve better from those who have earned so much off the backs of working men and women, and we must start by adding transparency to the CEO pay process and requiring companies to disclose their CEO-to-median employee pay ratios.

 As one of the most egregious examples of this type of inequality, mega-retailer Walmart is highlighted in this year’s PayWatch. Doug McMillon, the company’s CEO, earns $9,323 an hour. His starting employees get only $9 an hour, meaning it would only take those workers 1,036 hours to earn one hour of McMillon’s pay.

Tiffany, a former Walmart worker, explained the struggles caused by the company’s low wages:

In 2013, I earned about $12,000 as a full-time employee, which, at Walmart, isn’t always 40 hours each week. These poverty wages forced my family to receive public assistance. Walmart doesn’t value me. I believe in working hard and that my work should be valued. This is why I will not stop fighting until Walmart commits to raising wages and begins valuing all of its workers.”

The Executive PayWatch is the most comprehensive searchable online database tracking the excessive pay of CEOs of the nation’s largest companies. The website offers visitors the ability to compare their own pay to the pay of top executives, highlights the 100 top-paid CEOs and breaks out CEO pay data by state and by industry. The site also tracks and grades votes cast by 106 of the largest mutual fund families on executive compensation at the public companies they invest in. Mutual funds own more than one-fifth of all shares in U.S. public companies, giving them a great deal of influence in determining executive pay at these companies.

Executive PayWatch also gives you a chance to take action and ask the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to require big corporations to disclose their ratio of CEO to median employee pay.

Last modified on May 24, 2015

Categories: National
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