News from the Daily Kos Labor
- This week in the war on workers: Paid family leave. It’s not just about babies.
December, 9 2017
More than 40 million people, or 18 percent of the adult population, are providing unpaid eldercare today. Americans’ struggle to balance those responsibilities with work is on a collision course with an aging population that will make even more demands on our time.
As the Baby Boomer generation gets older, the number of family caregivers is going to increase dramatically. The share of Americans age 85 or older is set to triple by 2040. And while some families are able to hire aides to assist with elderly parents’ needs, relatives are still often needed to fill in the gaps. Seven out of 10 older Americans prefer to receive care from family members.
The estimated economic value of the unpaid hours family caregivers spent on their responsibilities was about $470 billion in 2013 alone. As more and more elderly Americans will need care, their contributions will become even more valuable.
This new report from PL+US highlights the enormous amount of unpaid labor Americans are doing to care for aging or chronically ill family members—caregivers are spending an average of 24 hours a week—and how unprepared our laws and our jobs are to handle that. Caregivers are losing income and straining themselves to the breaking point, with few large companies offering paid leave for this kind of family caregiving. It’s just one more way the U.S. falls short of humane worker protections.
- Daily Kos Labor digest
December, 7 2017
● Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is again seeking to indulge his hard-on for drug-testing food stamp applicants.
● Chicago activists march against the class war in the Republican tax plan.
To keep its graduate students from unionizing, Harvard is pushing the government to weaken important protections for workers across the United States.
That’s not how the university puts it, of course.
But as law students who came to Harvard to study labor, we are alarmed by the implications of the anti-organizing tactics the school is using against its students. The institution is poised to hobble unions far beyond our Cambridge campus.
- Republicans gearing up to crack down on food stamps for families with kids
December, 7 2017
More than 15 million American families experienced food insecurity in 2016, with more than 6 million of them having very low food security at some point in the year. But never mind that, because Republicans are gearing up another assault on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program:
[Rep. Jim Jordan] said the basic idea would be new restrictions on able-bodied adults ― even if they have children ― along the lines of a bill he introduced earlier this year. Robert Rector, a welfare expert with the conservative Heritage Foundation, said Jordan’s bill would cut SNAP spending by 20 percent over 10 years, which would amount to more than $100 billion.
″There’s significant savings if you do it right,” Jordan said.
Roughly 42 million low-income Americans, of whom 44 percent are children, receive monthly SNAP benefits that can be used to buy food in grocery stores ― making it one of the U.S. government’s biggest and most expensive economic safety net programs.
Take a second to let it sink in that 44 percent of 42 million is nearly 19 million children whose food security Republicans are potentially taking aim at. And it’s not like there aren’t already employment requirements on receiving SNAP if you’re an able-bodied adult—there are. Jordan and his buddies in the extremist House Freedom Caucus just want more and more work requirements, even when the jobs aren’t there. And even if it’ll hurt kids.
This kind of stuff is exactly what Donald Trump is talking about when he previews “welfare reform” as his next big push.
- Rural poverty is growing, and it’s not like it was low to start with
December, 6 2017
Poverty in rural areas of the U.S. has long been higher than in more populated areas, but it’s gotten worse in recent years:
At the turn of the century, about 1 in 5 rural counties had a poverty rate higher than 20 percent. Today, about one in three rural counties — 657 counties — have similarly high rates of poverty, the study found.
At the same time, the share of urban counties with pervasive poverty has risen from just under 7 percent to just under 16 percent.
Manufacturing jobs and energy extraction jobs have declined, Walmart and other big box stores have moved in and put small stores out of business, and young people have moved away:
About 15 years ago, 17 percent of Americans living in rural areas were employed in the manufacturing sector, Thiede said. Today, just 10 percent of nonmetro workers are employed in manufacturing. Since 2000, the number of manufacturing jobs in rural counties has declined by 20 percent. […]
And that leads younger workers — those most likely to start new businesses, the main drivers in job creation — to look elsewhere for work. The demography of rural America has gotten older, whiter and less educated as younger workers flee to larger communities.
Many of these people are doubtless looking to Donald Trump to make things better for them. What’s sad is that he’s almost the last person who would do that—and many of the people vying with him for that last-place slot are in Republican congressional leadership or his Cabinet.
- Daily Kos Labor digest
December, 5 2017
In retrospect, Trump’s “Mission Accomplished” moment looks as premature as George W. Bush’s appearance on that aircraft carrier. What appeared to be a genuine, if deeply flawed, shift in direction for Republican Party politics has been entirely abandoned. On the anniversary of the Carrier deal, Trump’s party was scrambling to put together a $6 trillion tax cut for the rich paid for by $4.5 trillion in tax increases for everyone else. And all of Trump’s promises to stop outsourcing have had no effect. Instead, according to a new report by Good Jobs Nation, 93,449 jobs have been certified by the Department of Labor as lost to trade competition or corporate outsourcing—higher than the average rate of loss for the preceding five years.
● Oh, look. Legislation attacking public workers in Florida.
Just give it to the workers. Without making them write a fucking essay. https://t.co/4QNbp25JUs
— Norwood Orrick Ã°ÂÂÂ¹ (@BlogWood) December 5, 2017
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