A Private-Sector Case Against Exploitation

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(Photo: Stuart Monk / Shutterstock)

Over a decade ago, I met with a group of small business leaders to talk about the perils of rising income and wealth inequality, and its destabilizing impact on the economy. This was years before the 2008 economic meltdown, the Occupy movement, Thomas Piketty’s Capital, and the electrifying presidential campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders.

“Where are the business voices?” one small business leader asked me. “Where are the enlightened capitalists who understand that stagnant wages and rising wealth inequities are the real threats to the proverbial goose that lays the golden egg?”

I knew from experience that such business leaders were there. One was Jim Sinegal, the now-retired CEO of Costco, who fended off Wall Street pressure to cut wages and eloquently made the moral and business case for a higher federal minimum wage. “The more people make, the better lives they’re going to have and the better consumers they’re going to be,” Sinegal told The Washington Post. “It’s going to provide better jobs and better wages.”

Unfortunately, such voices are outliers.

Read the full article on The Nation.

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Seventy years of exploitation: The enduring plight of California’s farm workers – Salon


Salon
Seventy years of exploitation: The enduring plight of California's farm workers
Salon
Yet even when the legislature debated the Agricultural Labor Relations Act in 1975, the nation's first law guaranteeing union rights for farm workers, the votes in favor came from urban Democrats, while rural Republicans maintained a solid front

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The Ongoing Exploitation of Home Care Workers

Domestic worker caring for elderly

(Image: Flickr / Brian Wolfe)

Who will take care of grandma?

It’s a question we need to answer. As baby boomers grow older, the elderly population — seniors who are 80 and older — will increase almost 200 percent by 2050.

Our long-term care system isn’t ready. Studies show that older Americans prefer home care over institutionalization. But because of low wages and poor working conditions, recruiting and retaining home health aides and personal care assistants is very difficult.

In the end, that means a lower quality of care and fewer home care workers for grandma.

Maybe the home care industry just can’t afford to pay workers more?

Hardly. The industry has boomed over the past decade. According to the National Employment Law Project, its revenue increased 48 percent, while CEO compensation ballooned by a whopping 150 percent.

In fact, home care today is a multi-billion dollar industry. Because of rising demand and skyrocketing revenues, Forbes called home health care one of the hottest franchises in the market.

Sadly, home care workers haven’t shared in the industry’s prosperity. During the same period that revenue soared, average hourly wages for workers declined by 6 percent.

And that’s not the worst of it. Because of a “companionship exemption” to federal labor laws, more than 2 million home care workers today are excluded from minimum wage and overtime pay protections.

Ninety percent of them are women. More than half rely on public assistance to make ends meet.

The Department of Labor has tried to stop the industry from misusing the companionship exemption to pay home care workers less. It passed a new rule that was supposed to make these workers eligible for minimum wage and overtime pay this January.

But before the rule went into effect, several for-profit home care associations — including the International Franchise Association — successfully sued the Department of Labor to prevent the change.

The industry is claiming that higher wages mean grandma won’t be able to get the care she needs.

The truth?

Studies show that higher wages mean grandma will be able to find and keep the best caregiver. And the 15 states that already provide minimum wage and overtime pay for home care workers prove that it’s feasible.

All told, Grandma will be more likely to get the care she needs when her caregivers can earn a living wage.

The post The Ongoing Exploitation of Home Care Workers appeared first on Institute for Policy Studies.

Marjorie Wood is a senior staff member of the Global Economy Project at the Institute for Policy Studies and the managing editor of inequality.org.

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Towards Stopping Child Labour Exploitation – AllAfrica.com

Towards Stopping Child Labour Exploitation
AllAfrica.com
Children work long hours for low wages on farms where they are exposed to environmental toxins, rodents and diseases. Children in rural areas also work in domestic services. Children, especially boys, engage in activities such as cattle herding, petty

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Labor exploitation common in the EU – Deutsche Welle


Deutsche Welle
Labor exploitation common in the EU
Deutsche Welle
The Vienna-based rights group compiled over 200 case studies, highlighting, among other things, the plight of Lithuanians working on British farms and living in sheds with little access to hygiene facilities, or Bulgarians harvesting fruits and
Severe labour exploitation 'endemic' throughout the EUNewsweek
Europe's labour conditions are deterioratingNew Europe

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Govt tough on worker exploitation: Cash – 9news.com.au


Sydney Morning Herald
Govt tough on worker exploitation: Cash
9news.com.au
The federal government insists authorities are doing enough to curb the mistreatment of migrant workers and backpackers. An ABC Four Corners investigation has revealed exploitation of working holiday visa holders on vegetable and fruit farms, and in …
Government urged to probe exploitation of Taiwan workers in AustraliaFocus Taiwan News Channel
We need a new class of visa for low-skilled migrant workersSydney Morning Herald

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Satyarthi offers to help TS, AP fight child exploitation – The Hindu


NewsHub.org
Satyarthi offers to help TS, AP fight child exploitation
The Hindu
“The present child labour law is obsolete and contradictory to Right to Education and Juvenile Justice Act. It does not prohibit all forms of child labour but only hazardous forms. Twenty per cent of child labour still is not covered. This is where the
Nobel laureate offers help to A.P., TS governmentsNewsHub.org

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Labor exploitation threatens millions of African children – BP News

Labor exploitation threatens millions of African children
BP News
According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), an agency of the United Nations, Africa has the world's largest child labor population, with the agriculture and mining sectors among the worst offenders. Poverty is cited as the primary reason

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Palm Oil for the West, Exploitation for Young Workers in Malaysia – The Atlantic

Palm Oil for the West, Exploitation for Young Workers in Malaysia
The Atlantic
Thousands more have come from the Phillipines, born to workers that have arrived in waves since the 1970's to fulfill a demand for cheap labor in what is now the world's second-largest palm oil industry. Without papers that prove nationality, their

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Palm Oil for the West, Exploitation for Young Workers in Malaysia – The Atlantic

Palm Oil for the West, Exploitation for Young Workers in Malaysia
The Atlantic
Thousands more have come from the Phillipines, born to workers that have arrived in waves since the 1970's to fulfill a demand for cheap labor in what is now the world's second-largest palm oil industry. Without papers that prove nationality, their

and more »

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