What are the chances of moving from the bottom to the top rungs of America’s economic ladder? If you are black? If you were raised by a single parent? If you don’t have a college education? The odds are not in your favor, as the Brookings Institution explains in this video. Income inequality limits upward mobility, and both jeopardize America’s basic bargain with its citizens.
As Labor Day approaches, we are likely to hear from a growing chorus of political, religious, academic, labor and business leaders who agree “America needs a raise” to reverse three decades of wage stagnation and rising income inequality.
But this consensus that something needs to be done has yet to produce a clear narrative or strategy for what to do. Getting there requires an agreement on what norms should guide wage growth, an understanding of the causes of wage stagnation and policies to address these causes in ways consistent with today’s economy and workforce.
It’s been 133 years since New York City celebrated the nation’s first Labor Day holiday in 1882 to acknowledge the role workers play in the economy. The federal government followed suit a dozen years later. As we review the suspected culprits behind wage stagnation, now is a good time to consider a new normal to ensure workers get their fair share of America’s prosperity.
Though employees are protesting stagnant wages and deteriorating working conditions at the AdvancePierre Foods plant in West Chester, they want the company’s majority owner in Los Angeles, Oaktree Capital Management L.P., a private equity firm, to hear them.
Employees say Oaktree is pulling the strings at AdvancePierre and is looking to sell the company. Fearing they were not being heard, employees asked the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 75 in March to help unionize workers at the plant on Princeton-Glendale Road. Employees say the company has illegally obstructed those efforts.
As we all know, sometimes the best place to hide something is out in the open. And that applies to nail salons in New York City where mani-pedi’s were ridiculously cheap, but no one asked why…except Sarah Maslin Nir.
Nir found extensive wage theft hiding right under the nose of consumers, worker advocates, federal and state enforcement agencies and a state attorney general with a reputation for sniffing out and rigorously prosecuting violators.
Juan Alvarez was one of 10 undocumented workers from Guatemala recruited by Jorge Padrilla, an undocumented Mexican, to do the framing and drywall work for an addition at the Ohio Theta House fraternity on Joselin Street in Clifton Heights last July.