On Labor Day:

The White House, Washington

Hi, everyone —

This Labor Day, I’m thinking about Austraberta.

I had breakfast at Austraberta Rodriguez’s home in Houston two weeks ago. She’s worked as a janitor for more than 30 years, and for most of that time, her wages put her below the poverty level. Every cent she’s earned has gone toward providing the basics for her children and grandchildren. Today, she’s still earning the minimum wage — which, in Texas, is just $7.25 an hour.

Austraberta Rodriguez with her grandchildren

Austraberta told me over breakfast that a national minimum wage increase would mean more bread for her family. She said a few more dollars an hour would be “incredible.” That raise wouldn’t just go toward making Austraberta’s life a little better. It would improve the odds for her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren too.

Austraberta’s struggle is our struggle. On Labor Day, we celebrate all workers nationwide who contribute to our strength and prosperity. Because whether you made the burger or someone served it to you, whether you’re driving the bus or riding on it, whether you’re sweeping the floor or working in the clean office, you have a part to pla​y.

So today, if you’re ready for a country that does right by Austraberta and the nearly 28 million Americans who stand to benefit from a $10.10 minimum wage, then honor them by adding your name here.

A higher minimum wage doesn’t just help workers like Austraberta. It helps the businesses they work for too. It improves employee morale, productivity, and customer service. It reduces turnover, absenteeism, and training costs.

And besides, when working families have more money in their pockets, they pump it right back into their local economies. They spend it on goods and services where they live. And that helps the businesses providing those goods and services to grow. And that creates more jobs.

But it all starts with making good on that basic bargain: If you work hard and play by the rules, you shouldn’t have to raise your family in poverty.

The President is doing his part, with an Executive Order that would increase the minimum wage to $10.10 for private-sector workers on federal contracts.

You can do your part, too — and there’s no action too small to show your support for folks like Austraberta. Folks like LeDaya. Like Holley. Like Aaron.

Today, more than a century after its inception, we still haven’t identified the true “founder” of Labor Day, and maybe that’s fitting. Because today isn’t about one person. It’s about every American who’s working hard to get ahead — and it’s about the progress we can make when we work together.

You can do that right now by standing up and saying you’re ready to reward hard work with a fair wage for everyone.

Happy Labor Day. Let’s continue standing with our workers not just on the first Monday in September, but every day of the year.

– Tom

Secretary Tom Perez​
Department of Labor


Ferguson Cop Donations Sites Shut Down

The Fifth Column

Adrees Latif/REUTERS

Those donation sites for the Furgeson, MO cop that shot and killed Michael Brown were always questionable in my mind.

Officer Darren Brown has not made a statement or “turned himself in” for questioning at all, yet an army of supporters (not unlike the George Zimmerman supporters) have deluged the donation sites on the officer’s behalf with a lot of cash.  Yet they say this is not about racism.  Tell that to the next family of a Black youth who was gunned down by a white man for “being/looking suspicious”.

The Daily Beast

Two online donations pages that together raised over $400,000 for the cop who fatally shot unarmed black teenager Michael Brown were shut down over the weekend. The two pages for Darren Wilson operated through crowdsource fundraising website GoFundMe. When one tries to donate to “Support Officer Wilson” (which has raised $197,620) and “Support Officer Darren Wilson”

View original post 119 more words

Urge Congress to sign on to the Schedules That Work Act

NWLCHands-Circle-180It’s been 120 years since Congress declared Labor Day a nationwide holiday.

Back then, in 1894, many workers faced extremely long hours and low pay, leaving them with empty pockets and precious little time to spend with their families. Workers took to the streets, holding strikes and rallies for higher wages and a shorter work day.

While workers have won many historic fights for better wages and working conditions since then, unfair scheduling practices are threatening workers’ ability to make a living once again. Today, instead of very long hours, all too often workers in low-wage jobs cannot get enough hours to make ends meet. And many have very little say in when they work, getting their schedules as little as one or two days in advance of the workweek. Difficult scheduling practices hit women especially hard, because women make up two-thirds of workers in low-wage jobs, where these schedules are most common, and still shoulder the lion’s share of caregiving responsibilities. It’s up to all of us to fight for fairness.

Urge your lawmakers to pass the Schedules That Work Act.

The Schedules That Work Act would give workers a say in their schedules, and would provide those working in industries with the most abusive scheduling practices two weeks’ advance notice of their schedules, and some minimum level of pay if they are sent home early after showing up for their shift. These modest measures would vastly improve the quality of life for millions of women and their families.

It’s been almost two months since the bill was introduced in Congress, and while support for it is growing, we still have a long way to go to ensure the Schedules That Work Act becomes law. That’s why we need your help.

Celebrate America’s Workers This Labor Day

Urge your Members of Congress to sign on to the Schedules That Work Act.

Act Now

Send a note to your Members of Congress to say you believe in schedules that work. Our country’s working families are depending on it.

Thank you for everything you do for women and their families.

Liz Watson
Senior Counsel and Director of Workplace Justice for Women
National Women’s Law Center

P.S. If you believe in schedules that work, share our graphic on Facebook or tweet about it using the hashtag #SchedulesThatWork!