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Wage Standards and Workplace Freedom

Mixed on immigration? Report: State's laws show mixed immigration policy

A state's stance on immigration policy impacts the number of illegal immigrants who live in that state, according to a report released yesterday by a pro-immigrant rights group.

"The Anti-Immigrant Movement That Failed," which was written by Progressive States Network (PSN), says Colorado has passed mixed policies towards illegal immigrants.

Immigration not enforced, experts say; Report reveals a few states pass tough legislation

A handful of conservative states with a recent influx of immigrantshave drawn national attention for passing "punitive" immigration laws,but the reality is most state legislatures are quietly welcomingnewcomers, according to a new report released Thursday.

Don't create scapegoats: Enforce wage laws for allӬ

As families in Iowa struggle to make ends meet, they are justified in feeling threatened when they see what were once good jobs turned into low-wage, sweatshop labor. 

In industries across the country, workers are not receiving the wages owed them under minimum-wage and overtime laws. Earlier this decade, a U.S. Department of Labor report found that 60 percent of U.S. nursing homes routinely violated overtime, minimum-wage or child-labor laws. Other studies have found similar levels of violations in the garment and restaurant industries. 

In Iowa, the minimum-wage and overtime laws have some of the weakest enforcement provisions of any state in the country. Penalties usually amount to no more than telling employers to pay what they originally owed their workers. Because legal action is so expensive and so likely to produce meager returns, few employees can afford to pursue claims. Because civil fines are so low, the state doesn't collect enough for strong, ongoing enforcement. 

Labor Day: How States Can Protect Workers Rights

In honor of Labor Day, we thought we would highlight some of our past Dispatches which outline steps states can take to protect workers' rights and raise wage standards. With new Census data showing that the median income for working-age households is still $1,300 below 2001 when the last recession hit bottom, the need for states to act to improve working conditions is greater than ever.

Living Wage: Maryland Enacts First State Law in Nation

This week, Maryland became the first state to enact a "living wage" law, HB 430, requiring government contractors to pay their employees a decent wage, in the bill ranging from $8.50 an hour in rural areas to $11.30 an hour in areas of the state with higher costs of living.  Maryland follows the 120 local governments around the country that have required that public money go to companies that pay their workers above the poverty line.

CA: A Living Wage for Airport Hotel Workers

This week, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa approved a new city law requiring hotels near the LAX airport to pay the same living wage as those companies receiving government contracts: $9.39 an hour if the hotels provide health insurance or $10.64 an hour without benefits.

State Legislative Models Brought to You by Progressive States and MomsRising

What would a policy that really values families look like?

Parents need real programs, not just rhetoric, that help them take care of their children or sick family members and supports the decent wages and health care all families need.

CA: State Rules FedEx Drivers Employees, Not Contractors

For years, the delivery company FedEx has claimed that its ground drivers are not employees but independent contractors-- meaning the company didn't have to pay for workers compensation, unemployment insurance or extend a range of other worker protections.

Chicago: Groundbreaking Retail Workers Living Wage Law Passes

By a vote of 35 to 14, the Chicago city council yesterday approved a new ordinance requiring large retailers in the city to phase in a living wage for their employees of $10 per hour plus $3 per hour in benefits-- the highest minimum wage established for any industry sector in the country. If signed by the mayor, the law would raise pay for tens of thousands of workers in retailers such as Wal-Mart, Target, Toys R Us, Lowe's and Home Depot. A broad coalition of organizations including ACORN, labor unions and church groups worked together for its passage.