HOORAY FOR L.A. – National Employment Law Project Executive Director Christine Owens celebrated the Los Angeles City Council’s announcement Tuesday that it will raise its minimum wage to $15 by 2020: “…The L.A. City Council’s endorsement of $15 is further proof that what seemed like an unrealistic economic aspiration only two years ago is mainstream economic reality today” … READ: “Minimum Wage Increase Helps Workers, Employers” by Pennsylvania Business for a Fair Minimum Wage member and small business owner Amy Edelman.
TPP DEAL KEEPS GETTING WORSE – Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Raul M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN) have begun collecting signatures from Democrats on a letter rejecting the proposed Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program. While the TAA is meant to help workers displaced by trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the current TAA proposal is funded by cutting health care benefits for seniors … READ their letter HERE, SIGN a petition from Democracy for America telling the Senate to reject Medicare cuts and Fast Track HERE, and CALL Minority Leader Pelosi at (202) 225-0100 telling her to STOP FAST TRACK, then REPORT how it went to MoveOn.org HERE.
… AS IF THREATENING TO CUT MEDICARE WEREN’T BAD ENOUGH, a new report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) says that millions of jobs are at stake unless a provision is added to TPP to prevent currency manipulation. While the Obama administration has denied this danger, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka last week described their argument as “unadulterated horse waste.” READ: “Stop Currency Manipulation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership.”
PROMOTING POLICE ACCOUNTABILITY – More than three dozen Progressive groups–including ACLU, ColorOfChange.org, Demos, Free Press, The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Million Hoodies Movement for Justice, NAACP, and National Council of La Raza–released a set of guidelines last Friday to ensure that police-operated body cameras are used to enhance civil rights. READ: “The People’s Manifesto on Police Body-Cameras.”
… COMING ON THE HEELS of this coalition effort, President Obama announced Monday that his administration will ban federal transfers of certain types of military-grade gear to local police departments … READ: “Police Body-Worn Cameras: Evidentiary Benefits and Privacy Threats” over at the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy (ACS).
DEBT IS THE NEW NORMAL – A new analysis from Demos shows that students of color have to take out higher loans than white students and are much more likely to drop out without receiving a degree, often because they can’t afford to continue. Report author Mark Huelsman: “…We have created a system based almost entirely on acquiring debt to get ahead, with no regard to how it would impact different communities.” READ ”The Debt Divide: The Racial and Class Bias Behind the ‘New Normal’ of Student Borrowing” and SIGN a petition from Democracy for America telling the Department of Education to discharge all debt for former students of the now bankrupt for-profit Corinthian Colleges HERE.
CLEAN WATER WIN – Sierra Club, MountainTrue, Southern Environmental Law Center, and Waterkeeper Alliance issued a joint statement this week in response to Duke Energy pleading guilty to nine violations of the Clean Water Act and pledging to close their Asheville coal plant: “Duke can do better, and our community deserves better” … This is the 190th closure of a coal plant since the beginning of Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign. LEARN MORE about the campaign HERE and SIGN their petition telling Congress not to follow the old fossil fuel agenda HERE.
… ELSEWHERE, a broad coalition of organizations–including 350.org, Corporate Accountability International, CREDO Action, Daily Kos, Greenpeace USA, League of Conservation Voters, People for the American Way, Rainforest Action Network, RH Reality Check, and Sierra Club–joined forces to demand that big polluters be barred from participating in the upcoming United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. SIGN their petition–which Corporate Accountability International will deliver to the Convention in Germany the first week of June–HERE.
A FAIR WORK WEEK FOR ALL – 61% of all women in the workforce are employed in hourly jobs, and over a third of women work part time according to a new report from the Center for Popular Democracy as part of their Fair Workweek Initiative. This leaves women disproportionately vulnerable to unsustainable scheduling practices and low wages. READ ”Hour by Hour: Women in Today’s Workweek” and LEARN MORE about the Fair Workweek Initiative HERE.
STRENGTHENING INTELLIGENCE OVERSIGHT – The Brennan Center for Justice is hosting a symposium on “Strengthening Intelligence Oversight: Lessons from the Church Committee” next Thursday, May 28 at 8:30 am in Washington, DC. The event will feature a keynote discussion with former Vice President Walter Mondale, former Senator Gary Hart, and Brennan Center Chief Counsel Fredrick A.O. Schwarz, Jr. RSVP HERE.
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