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Stand With Pregnant Workers Virtual Rally Instructions

Posted by Amanda Hooper, Outreach Manager | Posted on: November 13, 2014 at 10:19 am

On December 3, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Peggy Young v. UPS, a pregnancy discrimination case that will determine whether and when the Pregnancy Discrimination Act requires an employer to make accommodations for a worker who needs them because of pregnancy.

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The Budget Battles in Lame Duck: What’s at Stake for Women and Families

Posted by Julie Vogtman, Senior Counsel | Posted on: November 12, 2014 at 09:17 am

After a long election recess, Congress returns today—and Members have plenty of work to do in the lame duck session before the newly elected Congress takes over in January. The headline-making issues on the congressional agenda include Ebola and ISIS, but Congress’s response to these exceptional threats will likely be tied to its approach to a more basic task: keeping the federal government running.

Because Congress did not pass any FY 2015 appropriations bills before the recess, it approved a continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government operating at FY 2014 funding levels when the new fiscal year began on October 1. But the CR expires on December 11, and Congress will have to enact a new funding measure before the deadline to avoid a government shutdown.

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Unexpected News from the Supreme Court Won’t Stop Health Care Enrollment

Posted by Judy Waxman, Vice President for Health and Reproductive Rights | Posted on: November 07, 2014 at 02:44 pm

With eight days to go before health plan enrollment begins for 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States announced today that it will hear King v. Burwell in the Court’s next term. This case challenges the availability of premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions for people who sign up for health insurance through the federal Marketplace. Thirty-four states rely on the federal government to manage the health insurance marketplaces for their residents. This means that if the Court were to overturn the King decision from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, millions of women and their families would lose premium subsidies, and therefore access to affordable health insurance.

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Sixth Circuit to Same-Sex Couples: Just Wait and See

Posted by Elizabeth Johnston, Fellow | Posted on: November 07, 2014 at 02:33 pm

Yesterday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit handed down its decision in DeBoer v. Snyder, [PDF] becoming the first federal appellate court to state uphold bans on marriage between same-sex couples post-Windsor. Instead of addressing the constitutional issues, the majority focused largely on who should decide the issue, insisting that the democratic process, not the federal judiciary, was the appropriate forum through which same-sex couples should obtain their civil rights. In other words, those “laboratories of experimentation” that adopted the bans to begin with should be charged with removing them. This decision begs the question, what is the role of the courts, if not to “say what the law is”—especially when the legal questions involve individual constitutional rights of such grave importance? Nevertheless, according to the Sixth Circuit, the courts should “wait and see” what the fallout is in the states where same-sex marriage is now legal and respect the will of the voters. Sound familiar? That same argument was made, unsuccessfully, by Virginia in Loving v. Virginia, the case that overturned Virginia’s ban on interracial marriage. It was an outrageous proposition then and it is today: don’t we look to courts to be counter-majoritarian? To prevent majorities from oppressing minorities?

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October’s Employment Update Shows Importance of Raising the Minimum Wage and Tipped Minimum Wage

Posted by Anne Morrison, Fellow | Posted on: November 07, 2014 at 01:17 pm

This month’s BLS data release shows continued strong job growth, with the economy adding 214,000 jobs. Women’s jobs made up 59 percent of these gains (127,000 jobs), but our analysis shows that 49 percent of new jobs overall were added in the low-wage sectors of retail, leisure & hospitality, temporary help services, home health care services, and nursing & residential care facilities. One-third of women’s total net jobs were added in the retail and leisure & hospitality sectors alone.

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Scheduling Day of Action Instructions

Posted by Gail Zuagar, Outreach Associate | Posted on: November 06, 2014 at 09:55 am

We all know about the chaos in the stores that marks Black Friday, the official start to the holiday shopping season. But did you know about the chaos that marks every day of some workers’ lives? Too many workers are getting schedules that are so unpredictable they make it impossible to plan from one day to the next. We need your help!

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Minimum Wage Increases Were Clear Winners at the Polls

Posted by Agata Pelka, Fellow | Posted on: November 05, 2014 at 11:17 am

Election Day post-mortems generally involve a lot of speculation – pundits will spend days arguing over which issues persuaded voters to choose one candidate over another. But voters issued at least one clear mandate: they overwhelmingly support raising the minimum wage.

Voters passed ballot measures in Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota to increase their state minimum wages to $9.75 by 2016, $8.50 by 2017, $9 by 2016 and $8.50 in 2015 respectively. Alaska’s measure will adjust the minimum wage annually based on inflation or ensure it is $1 higher [PDF] than the federal minimum wage, whichever amount is greater. South Dakota’s measure also included an annual increase adjusted for the cost of living and increased the minimum cash wage for tipped workers [PDF] from the federal level of just $2.13/hour to half of the state minimum wage. Voters in Illinois affirmatively answered a non-binding question to tell their state legislators to increase the minimum wage to $10 by 2015. If the Illinois legislature acts to raise the wage in their state, yesterday’s election results mean that 680,000 workers will get a raise in those five states. Two-thirds of those workers are women and a quarter of them are raising children.

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What I Want for National Work and Family Month: Schedules that Work!

Posted by Liz Watson, Senior Counsel and Director of Workplace Justice for Women | Posted on: October 31, 2014 at 01:30 pm

As we close out National Work & Family month, it’s a good time to take stock of the strides made so far this year in the fight for fair schedules for working families. July saw the introduction of the federal Schedules that Work Act which would provide workers with more predictable and stable schedules, as well as a say in when they work. San Francisco stepped up to the plate next, with the Retail Workers Bill of Rights which would ensure fair scheduling practices and stable incomes for employees in the city’s chain fast food restaurants and retail stores. And earlier this summer, New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer held a public forum on workers’ need for a voice in their schedules. Not to be outdone, a state senator in Michigan just introduced a fair scheduling bill [PDF] a couple of weeks ago.

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