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The Next Effort to Gut Health Reform – A Tale of Two Decisions

Posted by Dania Palanker, Senior Counsel | Posted on: July 22, 2014 at 01:21 pm

Today, two circuit courts ruled on whether the Affordable Care Act (ACA) allows individuals enrolled in health insurance through the Federally Facilitated Marketplace to receive federal subsidies to help with health insurance costs, specifically premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions.

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10 Comments That Make It Clear: Workers Need Schedules That Work

Posted by Molly Dilts, Intern | Posted on: July 21, 2014 at 04:28 pm

Imagine getting to work for your scheduled shift after taking an hour-long bus commute only to be told to go home without clocking in because there were enough employees there already. Seems ridiculous, right? But that was Mary Coleman’s reality when she arrived at work at a Popeye’s in Milwaukee.

Her story was published last Wednesday in a New York Times article on the unpredictable workplace hours and short notice scheduling that are a reality for many workers. Readers had a lot to say about the issue – it garnered more than 440 responses in the comment section.

Many readers were shocked and angry about the unfair treatment that Mary and other workers faced, and others had personal stories about unpredictable scheduling in their own workplaces.

Here are 10 of our favorite comments from the NYT article from readers who agree that fair hours and predictable scheduling are rights that should be given to all workers.

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The Power of Presidential Pen

Posted by Emily Martin, Vice President and General Counsel | Posted on: July 21, 2014 at 03:26 pm

This morning, I was lucky enough to be there in person to see President Obama sign an executive order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, as well as explicitly adding “gender identity” to the federal government’s own nondiscrimination in employment policy (which already prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation).

As the President said this morning, while we still have a long way to go in the fight for equality, today’s milestone is an important moment to take stock of the extraordinary progress made “not just in our lifetimes, but in the last five years, in the last two years, in the last one year. We’re on the right side of history.”

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The Women's Health Protection Act: Protecting Women's Right to Choose

Posted by Ashley Bender, Intern | Posted on: July 21, 2014 at 03:20 pm

What do mandatory delays, biased counseling requirements, stringent physical building standards, and restrictions on the use of telemedicine all have in common?

They are all examples of the kinds of medically unnecessary laws passed by state politicians that target abortion clinics, providers, and patients with the goal of eliminating access to abortion. Between 2011 and 2013, states have enacted over 200 restrictions on abortion, and they just keep coming. These restrictions mean that women and providers have to fight in court just to keep abortion clinics open. These restrictions mean that the entire Rio Grande Valley is without a single provider. That’s over 1 million people without access. These restrictions mean that a woman’s constitutional right depends on her zip code.

But women and members of Congress are fighting back. The Women’s Health Protection Act, introduced by Senators Richard Blumenthal and Tammy Baldwin, would undo many of the dizzying number of restrictions passed in recent years. This bill would nullify laws that purport to protect women’s health but, in reality and intent, restrict women’s access to the reproductive health care they need and interfere with the doctor-patient relationship.

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The Completely Outrageous Wage Gap for African American Women

Posted by Michaela Olson, Intern | Posted on: July 21, 2014 at 12:12 pm

We’re marking an important landmark in the fight for equal pay for all women, but not in a good way. Get ready to get angry.

1. Even today, women overall typically make only 77 cents for every dollar men make, working full time year round.  


2. But that’s just the beginning: shamefully, the wage gap is even larger for women of color. 

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201 Days Till Equal Pay: The Wage Gap for African American Women

Posted by Fatima Goss Graves, Vice President for Education and Employment | Posted on: July 21, 2014 at 11:54 am

This year the nation marked Equal Pay Day (the symbolic day when women’s earnings finally catch up to men’s earnings from the previous year) on April 8th. I was lucky enough to be able to “celebrate” by standing with President Obama at the White House as he signed two critical executive actions to address the problem of unequal pay in the federal contractor workforce.

Yes, that’s right — women overall have to work three months into the new year before their wages catch up to men’s. Even worse, when you look at the data by race and gender together it is clear that it takes even longer for women of color to catch up. That’s because the wage gaps experienced by women of color are substantially larger than for women overall. Women overall typically make only 77 percent of what men make for full time, year round work — but, for example, for African American women and Hispanic women compared to white, non-Hispanic men this figure is 64 cents and 54 cents, respectively.

Which brings us to late July — the time when we will finally reach Equal Pay Day for African American women.

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Voters Agree: Congress Should Address Early Learning

Posted by Holly Flynn, Intern | Posted on: July 18, 2014 at 04:04 pm

It’s so rare that Americans reach a broad consensus on any issue, that when there is one policy supported by a vast majority of voters, you can be sure it is an incredibly urgent matter. According to a new poll by the First Five Years Fund, early learning is this kind of issue. Eighty-five percent of respondents said that giving children a strong start is extremely or very important—making it the number-two policy priority, just behind increasing jobs and economic growth. Americans have made it clear—they want action on early learning, and they want it soon. In fact, three out of four voters want Congress to address a plan for universal high-quality preschool within the next two years.

What’s more, increased early learning investments have the backing of a strong majority of Americans across the political spectrum. The poll presented a specific policy proposal that would provide $10 billion a year over ten years to provide all children in low- and moderate-income families with access to high-quality preschool programs. The proposal was supported by 60 percent of Republicans, 68 percent of independents, and 84 percent of Democrats. In addition, the proposal received support from 80 percent of Hispanics, 75 percent of moderates, and 72 percent of suburban women.

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Delaware Updates Homebound Instruction Regulations to Comply with Title IX

Posted by Samantha Hall, Intern | Posted on: July 18, 2014 at 10:52 am

On July 1, 2014, Delaware released a proposed update to its regulations regarding homebound instruction, and although it looks like a small change, it’s an important one, folks. Until now, Delaware’s regulations surrounding homebound instruction barred students with “normal” pregnancies from accessing homebound instruction services. Students with pregnancy complications (or, I suppose, “non-normal” pregnancies, though in my mind I still can’t figure out what “normal" means) were only able to access homebound instruction for six weeks, even though such a limit didn’t apply to any other students using homebound instruction.

Happily, once Delaware understood that their regulations violated Title IX and made it harder for pregnant students to continue their schoolwork, they worked quickly to change their regulations. The National Women’s Law Center brought the problem to the attention of the Delaware Department of Education and advocated that the policy be fixed; the proposed changes are necessary for Delaware to comply with Title IX.

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