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Improving Job Quality

About the Campaign

Millions of middle-class jobs have been replaced by jobs that offer too few hours, too low pay, and no benefits. Public policy, driven by corporate interests, is a chief culprit of this great unraveling: the minimum wage has fallen, labor law no longer protects workers’ rights to act collectively, and the government agencies tasked with enforcing workplace protections have been deprived of the funding and power they need to ensure compliance.

The Center for Popular Democracy (CPD) is working with community-based organizations, progressive unions, and policy advocates from...

Millions of middle-class jobs have been replaced by jobs that offer too few hours, too low pay, and no benefits. Public policy, driven by corporate interests, is a chief culprit of this great unraveling: the minimum wage has fallen, labor law no longer protects workers’ rights to act collectively, and the government agencies tasked with enforcing workplace protections have been deprived of the funding and power they need to ensure compliance.

The Center for Popular Democracy (CPD) is working with community-based organizations, progressive unions, and policy advocates from around the country to design, promote, pass, and enforce new public policies that will strengthen labor standards, empower workers on the job, and reverse the decades-long decline of the American middle class.

Our work includes:

  • Winning Paid Sick Days in New York. Starting in April 2014, more than 1.3 million New York workers will no longer need to fear losing their jobs when they, or their children, get sick. More than 1 million New Yorkers will get paid sick leave benefits. Workers will be protected from being fired if they must take a sick day to care for themselves or a sick family member, and workers at larger employers will receive 5 paid days of sick leave each year. As part of a broad and robust political coalition, CPD helped mobilize pressure on the City Council, designed key elements of the legislation to ensure that workers will actually be able to exercise their right to sick time off without fear of retaliation, and helped advance a procedural strategy to free the bill from committee purgatory and bring it to the floor for a vote.  CPD is currently working with coalition allies on strengthening the law under a DeBlasio Administration.  
  • Winning Paid Sick Days in New Jersey. We are providing legal support to the coalition of community groups, health advocates, and labor unions that are pushing to guarantee all workers paid sick days through local legislation. Alongside allies like SEIU 32BJ, the Working Families Party, New Jersey Citizen Action, and A Better Balance, we have helped draft the legislation, do the legal research, and make the policy arguments necessary to move the city legislatures and mayors forward on this crucial public health and pro-worker policy reform.  
  • Giving 1.5 million working New Yorkers a raise. New York State’s Governor Cuomo approved an increase to New York State’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $9.00 an hour over the next three years, adding $2 billion to workers’ paychecks. CPD is proud to have been a major partner in the coalition of labor, business, community, faith and policy organizations from across the state that fought for the increase. CPD is supporting partner organizations through-out the city and state to initiate phase two of the fight for a higher minimum wage. Together with National Employment Law Project (NELP), CPD is helping coordinate a state-wide effort to eliminate the tipped wage which was left unchanged after the minimum wage bill passed earlier in 2013. Increasing the tipped wage is an essential part of improving the lives of restaurant and other tipped workers in NY.  
  • Helping the Public Justice Center develop a winning strategy to protect low-wage workers from rampant wage theft in Maryland. In May 2013, Maryland passed historic wage lien legislation that gives workers a powerful new tool to recover wages from unscrupulous employers who would otherwise disappear without paying their employees.  
  • Joining with United NY to convene Workers Rising, a one-day gathering where New York’s progressive community celebrated and strategized about the exciting worker organizing that is happening in the city. We published a report highlighting the innovative strategies behind the campaigns and detailing five important policy reforms that the City government can adopt to improve life for working-class New Yorkers. The event was co-sponsored by 16 of the city’s leading unions, community groups, and advocacy organizations.  
  • Working with the Vermont Workers Center to design state-wide paid sick days legislation that will provide residents with a robust new labor protection and to pass a revised prevailing wage law in Burlington so that employers actually comply with the law, which has gone unenforced for over a decade.  
  • Collaborating with the National Employment Law Project to design the next generation of state-level labor reforms so that corporations and contractors are held accountable for their sub-contractors’ misconduct and have an incentive to ensure compliance with the law on their job sites.  
  • Supporting groups like New York Communities for Change, Make the Road New York and Warehouse Workers United to develop industry-specific legislation that can improve the quality of life for fast food workers, car wash workers and warehouse workers who toil at minimum wage for the nation’s most profitable firms.  
  • Working with Make the Road New York and its coalition of partners to mobilize support for more resources at the New York State Department of Labor so that it can properly enforce the Wage Theft Prevention Act and ensure that workers are paid the wages that they’ve earned.  
  • Partnering with Community Labor United (CLU) and NELP to support a campaign to push for policy reforms that hold entities “up the chain” liable for workplace abuses suffered by employees of subcontractors. In particular, CPD will provide research support and connections to national campaigns on the evolving structure of work.

News

Update: December 30, 2016, 12:00 p.m. EST: Versace has issued a statement affirming its...

12/30/2016 | Allure Magazine

03.01.2016

NEW YORK – Looks like Walgreens needs some first aid of its...

03/1/2016

02.19.2016

NEW YORK CITY — Wal-Mart’s wage hike to a minimum $10 per...

02/19/2016

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Stand By America's Low-Wage Workers

I stand with workers across America demanding dignity on the job and a $15/hr minimum wage.