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Mississippi is Determined to Shut Down the State’s Only Abortion Clinic

Posted by Rachel Parker, Intern | Posted on: February 27, 2015 at 04:27 pm

Earlier last year, in Jackson Women’s Health Organization v. Currier, a panel of judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit blocked a law that would have shut down Mississippi’s only abortion clinic.

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Judiciary Committee Approves Lynch Nomination

Posted by Amy K. Matsui, Senior Counsel and Director of Women and the Courts | Posted on: February 26, 2015 at 03:41 pm

Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the nomination of Loretta Lynch to be Attorney General of the United States.  The nomination received bipartisan support, including that of Senators Flake, Graham, and Hatch, underscoring once again the superb qualifications of the nominee.  At this point, the nomination is ready to be vot

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Minimum Wage Action Heating Up in February

Posted by Agata Pelka, Fellow | Posted on: February 25, 2015 at 03:37 pm

Walmart made headlines last week when it announced plans to increase the base pay at their stores to $9 an hour ($1.75 above the current federal minimum wage) in April and to $10 by February 2016. While $10 an hour is still not enough for a full-time worker to keep a family of four out of poverty, it will boost paychecks for close to 500,000 full-time and part-time hourly workers at Walmart and Sam’s Club U.S. stores—about 40% of their current workers—and represents an important victory for the employee activists of OUR Walmart, who have vowed to continue to fight for a $15 base wage and fairer workplace policies. The move also adds a huge corporation to the list of companies recognizing that better wages can mean better business, and more will likely follow suit; just today, T.J. Maxx announced that it will also raise the minimum pay in its line of stores to $10 an hour by 2016, describing the change as “an important part of our strategies to continue attracting and retaining the best talent in order to deliver a great shopping experience for our customers, remain competitive on wages in our U.S. markets and stay focused on our value mission.”

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The Phony Crisis in Social Security Disability Insurance — And Other Things Women Should Know About SSDI

Posted by Joan Entmacher, Vice President for Family Economic Security | Posted on: February 25, 2015 at 10:58 am

Some lawmakers are saying that Social Security is facing a crisis. The Senate Budget Committee recently held a hearing on “The Coming Crisis: Social Security Disability Trust Fund Insolvency;” today, a House subcommittee is holding a hearing on the “looming insolvency of the Disability Insurance program.”

Sounds scary—and that’s the idea. Cuts to Social Security benefits are really unpopular; in fact, a large majority of Americans supports increases in Social Security benefits and increases in taxes to pay for them. But some lawmakers want to cut benefits. Manufacturing a crisis and pitting groups against each other—young against old, retirees against people with disabilities—just might make it possible to push benefit cuts through.

So as the debate heats up over Social Security—and specifically Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)—here are a few things you should know.

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Big Night at the Oscars for Equal Pay for (Some) Women

Posted by Katie Hegarty, Online Outreach Assistant | Posted on: February 23, 2015 at 12:55 pm

The Academy Awards are, in one word, big. Big awards, big celebrities, big blockbusters, big hair…and in recent years, a big social media presence. Last year, a selfie tweeted by host Ellen DeGeneres “broke Twitter.” This year, that honor went to a surprising but overdue recipient: the call for equal pay.

The awards night thank you speech is a moment that, let’s be honest, sends a lot of us channel-surfing. But Patricia Arquette used that moment to tell millions of people about the critical need for fair pay. “It’s our time,” she said, “to have wage equality once and for all, and equal rights for women in the United States of America.”

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Misclassification of Workers: Fraud, Plain and Simple

Posted by Agata Pelka, Fellow | Posted on: February 19, 2015 at 05:15 pm

In his remarks at the AFL-CIO National Summit on Raising Wages last month, Secretary Tom Perez spoke about how “[W]orkers are undercut by the abusive practice of misclassification. Let me be clear: when you improperly categorize your employees as independent contractors — stripping them of rights and benefits in the process, dodging your own tax obligations as an employer — what you're doing is committing fraud, plain and simple.”

Millions of women work in occupations that are most often misclassified, including child care and home health care. Employees who are wrongly classified as independent contractors are deprived of employment protections and entitlements, such as being paid the minimum wage, overtime pay, unemployment benefits, and employer contributions to Social Security. In addition, the government loses out on revenue from payroll taxes that employers should have paid for those workers.

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State Advocates’ Agenda for Private Health Insurance in 2015

Posted by Dania Palanker, Senior Counsel | Posted on: February 18, 2015 at 02:08 pm

Cross-posted from FamiliesUSA — posted by Cheryl Fish-Parcham and Claire McAndrew

Around the country, health care advocates are developing advocacy agendas to ensure that private health insurance plans meet consumers’ needs. From addressing high costs for consumers to strengthening provider networks to improving prescription drug formularies, advocates have a lot of work planned this year to improve private insurance. 

Here, we list some of the top private insurance issues that are on advocates’ 2015 agendas, along with best practices and resources that advocates shared with their peers at our Health Action conference

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Winning the Lottery Shouldn’t Be the Only Ticket to Economic Security

Posted by Amanda Hooper, Outreach Manager | Posted on: February 13, 2015 at 05:33 pm

Most of us have probably thought about what we’d do if we won the lottery. From the more financially responsible options—pay off student loans, buy a house, invest in retirement accounts—to the more far-fetched (lifetime supply of chocolate, anyone?), the possibilities are endless.

This week, that dream came true for Marie Holmes, a single mother of four from North Carolina who won $188 million from Powerball

Accounts of Holmes’ win mention that until recently, she had been working two jobs at McDonald’s and Walmart to support her children, one of whom lives with cerebral palsy. And although we don’t have in-depth details about Holmes’ job situation or family life, the basics of her story—working more than one low-wage job and struggling to take care of her children—echo the experiences of women across the country.

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