Some employers and Republicans want to lower the minimum wage — here’s why they’re completely out of touch
It seems unfathomable that anyone would consider the minimum wage — which, for a full-time worker, provides a yearly salary that is thousands of dollars below the poverty line for a family of three or four — to be too high. But in Arizona, Republican legislators are pushing a bill that would allow employers to pay teenagers working part-time a full three dollars per hour less than the state minimum wage, which works out to a mere $4.65 per hour. And the Florida legislature is considering lowering the state minimum wage for tipped employees by more than half.
Most minimum wage earners are women
One of the stats that always amazes is this: If the federal minimum wage had kept pace with the rising cost of living over the past 40 years, it would be $10.52 per hour today. Instead, the minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. Stunning as that is, it gets even worse when you realize that the majority of those paid the minimum wage are women: In 2011, more than 62 percent of minimum wage workers were women, compared with only 38 percent of male minimum wage workers, according to a new report by the Center for American Progress Action Fund.
Queer issues are class issues: Where next for the LGBTQ movement?
Economics and sexual identity are not unconnected. The Center for American Progress reported back in 2010, “Besides disproportionate rates of homelessness as youth, a root cause of lower incomes and poverty among adult gay and transgender Americans is the high rate of workplace discrimination they face. This discrimination includes unequal pay, barriers to health insurance, unfair hiring and promotion practices, and verbal and sexual harassment that create hostile and unsafe working environment.”
Top Obama energy aide: ‘Fracking’ rules coming by year’s end
The administration Monday sought to reassure green groups “fracking” regulations are on track despite extending the public comment period. Heather Zichal, the top White House energy aide, told reporters that she expects the Interior Department rules regulating hydraulic fracturing, dubbed fracking, to be completed by year’s end.
Airline crash deaths too few to make new safety rules pay
More than a decade has passed since the last major-airline accident on U.S. soil. That’s great news for aviation companies and their passengers — and a complication for rule makers trying to improve flight safety. The benefits of aviation rules are calculated primarily on how many deaths they may prevent, so the safest decade in modern airline history is making it harder to justify the cost of new requirements.
Monitoring government employee email could lead to repercussions for whistleblowers
Let’s say that you work for a government agency, and happen to witness fraud, waste or abuse—but you know that your employer is reading your email, and might use the information to retaliate against you. Would this affect your decision to blow the whistle? That’s the concern Special Counsel Carolyn Lerner raised in a memorandum sent last week to government agency heads and general counsels. The Office of Special Counsel (OSC)—which is responsible for investigating whistleblower claims—asked agencies in the memorandum to evaluate their monitoring practices to ensure employees are not discouraged from exercising their legal rights to disclose wrongdoing.
CDC considers outside checks on bioterror labs
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is considering having U.S. Army scientists or another outside agency inspect its bioterror labs in the wake of a USA TODAY report this month. The agency plans to install safety equipment to address fire code violations from December 2010 that could trap workers in an emergency, an agency spokesman said Monday.