The Seattle Minimum Wage Study Is Utter B.S.

minimum-living-wage-fight-for-15-protest-worker

(Photo: a katz / Shutterstock)

For decades, conservative ideologues have insisted that raising the minimum wage will hurt, not help, low-wage workers. Mandating higher wages will cost jobs, the old canard goes, and the obvious solution is to let the free market function unfettered.

This argument received a significant bump from a recent study by the University of Washington (UW) looking at the impact of the minimum wage increase in Seattle, where in 2014 the city council voted to phase in a $ 15 wage over the next few years.

The UW study appeared to show that the 2015–2016 wage floor increase from $ 11 to $ 13 per hour, one phase on that journey to $ 15, caused low-wage workers’ annual pay to go down, not up, and overall low-wage jobs to also go down.

Free-market fanatics around the country flung praise at the study, and serious publications like the Washington Post deemed it “very credible.” But fortunately for working people, it turns out the study’s findings are far from that.

The research has significant flaws—most glaringly that its data excludes 40% of the Seattle workforce. It also stands in contrast to a massive trove of actually credible studies showing that raising the minimum wage is a boon for working class families and the communities they live in.

For instance, a team led by Michael Reich, an economics professor at University of California-Berkeley, looked at the impact of the Seattle wage increase on the food industry over the same period and found that wages did in fact go up for restaurant workers, and that employment wasn’t affected. These findings were, they claim, “in line with the lion’s share of results in previous credible minimum wage studies.”

Reich and his colleagues have done a significant portion of this research , recently studying cities with the highest minimum wage laws in the country, including Chicago, San Francisco, and Oakland. They’ve consistently found that higher wages boost worker pay and haven’t led to either job loss or a slowdown in economic growth.

Read the full article on Fortune.

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Groups challenge DOE on grid study

Media Contacts:
Erin Jensen, (202) 222-0722, ejensen@foe.org
Lukas Ross, (202) 222-0724, lross@foe.org
Basav Sen, (202) 997 0479, basav@ips-dc.org

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today six groups sent a letter to Secretary of Energy Rick Perry challenging the biased premise of a recently announced study of grid reliability. Theoretically an investigation into the retirement of baseload power plants, the proposed study is better understood as a political line of attack against renewable energy—including against the modest incentives for wind and solar.

The letter urges the Department of Energy to consider the century-long subsidization of fossil fuels and other polluting industries, instead of developing arguments against clean, renewable energy.

“From our tax code to our public lands, the fossil fuel industry remains one of the most heavily subsidized segments of our economy,” said Lukas Ross, Climate and Energy Campaigner at Friends of the Earth.“If Secretary Perry pretends otherwise then this study is just his latest adventure in climate denial.”

“Rick Perry’s biased order to review electricity markets reveals he can only see what’s behind us, not what’s clearly up ahead. In a climate constrained world, fossil fuels are simple not viable with renewable power and energy efficiency – even with $ 21 billion in government subsidies each year. Perry’s nostalgia for the days when coal ruled the national grid is clouding his vision of where technology, markets, and consumers are moving,” said Janet Redman, U.S. Policy Director at Oil Change International.

“Secretary Perry’s energy agenda is a reflection of the oil, gas and coal climate killers who have funded the Trump campaign from day one,” said Bill Snape, Senior Counsel with the Center for Biological Diversity.  “Federal funds ought to go to activities that protect Americans and our planet, not threaten them with catastrophe.”

“Secretary Perry made a not-so-veiled threat to Renewable Portfolio Standards, which are State policies expanding renewable energy, in comments at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance conference last month, making clear his intent to use this politicized ‘report’ to undermine policy support for clean energy at all levels of government,” said Basav Sen, Climate Policy Project Director at the Institute for Policy Studies.“State governments need to tell him in no uncertain terms that his efforts to thwart their progress will kill jobs, hurt the environment, and is a completely unacceptable Federal power grab.”

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Creating positive change for workers in global food chains – Case study Morocco project

Thumbnail Case Study Morocco March 2016Fairfood’s Moroccan tomato project has now been underway for more than three years! Together with the local Moroccan agricultural labour union Fédération Nationale du Secteur Agricole (FNSA) we are working on improving the working conditions and wages for agricultural workers the Souss Massa region. 

Today we published the case study Creating positive change for workers in global food chains – A case study of the partnership between an international NGO and a local trade union in the Moroccan tomato supply chain‘. This case study gives an overview of everything Fairfood has done and achieved in these three years and it includes the practicalities of collaboration between an international NGO and a local trade union, the successes, the challenges, and the lessons Fairfood and the FNSA have learned.

Living wages are now on the agenda of major European retailers

The project has brought about some significant and concrete improvements: now, the partners have access to concrete facts from two field research studies that were conducted, living wages are now on the agenda of major European retailers, Moroccan companies are considerably more willing to meet with the FNSA and unionists in Morocco are much better equipped to negotiate with companies. Further indirectly, the project has contributed to more workers becoming registered for social security, an increase in union membership and improved transport conditions.

Collaborating with a local partner opens the door to many new opportunities

In the Morocco project, we have learned that collaboration between different stakeholders opens the door to many new opportunities to create value for all involved. Both Fairfood and the FNSA have gained a great deal from this partnership and have achieved far more than they could have done alone. We are now looking for ways to further improve workers’ conditions at the production end of agricultural global food chains.

The Morocco project

Fairfood has been working in Morocco since January 2013, together with our partner the FNSA, the largest agricultural trade union in the country. The project has focused on the Souss-Massa region, where the vast majority of Moroccan tomatoes are produced. The majority of these workers are women. They often live and work in very poor conditions and don’t earn enough to meet even their most basic needs. These tomatoes are sold by European supermarkets, such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Albert Heijn. Read more about the issues in our report The fruits of their labour – the low wages behind Moroccan tomatoes sold in European supermarkets.

>>Read the full report<<

Thumbnail Case Study Morocco March 2016

 

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Farm Bureau issues bird flu impact study – Iowa Farmer Today

Farm Bureau issues bird flu impact study
Iowa Farmer Today
17 indicating the avian flu outbreak in Iowa cost producers nearly 8,500 jobs and almost $ 427 million in lost revenue when the disease forced the depopulation of 34 million birds on 77 farms earlier this year. The study, commissioned by the Farm Bureau

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Study: Bird flu costs $427 million, 8500 jobs – Pilot Tribune


Pilot Tribune
Study: Bird flu costs $ 427 million, 8500 jobs
Pilot Tribune
The avian flu outbreak, which forced the depopulation of 34 million birds on 77 Iowa farms, won't just raise the price for eggs and poultry for up to the next three years; it also is costing the nation's largest egg-producing state nearly 8,500 jobs

and more »

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Study alleges toxic products sold at Dollar Tree, similar stores – Hanford Sentinel


Hanford Sentinel
Study alleges toxic products sold at Dollar Tree, similar stores
Hanford Sentinel
Some groups claim PVC toys are unsafe for babies and children, a charge that the International Council of Toy Industries denies. However, the American Public Health Association passed a resolution at its 2011 annual convention recommending …

and more »

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Study: Number of people living in Kentucky without legal permission declines – Daily Journal

Study: Number of people living in Kentucky without legal permission declines
Daily Journal
Another factor is that more Kentucky farmers are participating in the federal H2A temporary visa worker program to hire migrant workers to help produce tobacco or vegetables, said Hornback, who relies on the program to provide the farm hands to help …

and more »

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Study Links Wildlife Decline to Human Trafficking – Highbrow Magazine


Highbrow Magazine
Study Links Wildlife Decline to Human Trafficking
Highbrow Magazine
Brashares says he got the idea to study links between wildlife decline and social issues after seeing two seemingly unrelated news articles published the same week: A NY Times piece on the rise of child workers in Africa's fishing industry and a cover

and more »

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Study Links Wildlife Decline to Human Trafficking – Highbrow Magazine


Highbrow Magazine
Study Links Wildlife Decline to Human Trafficking
Highbrow Magazine
Brashares says he got the idea to study links between wildlife decline and social issues after seeing two seemingly unrelated news articles published the same week: A NY Times piece on the rise of child workers in Africa's fishing industry and a cover

and more »

|||||||http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&fd=R&ct2=us&usg=AFQjCNFhEateari99yMIcZZpmGzHeja6qw&clid=c3a7d30bb8a4878e06b80cf16b898331&cid=52778575674547&ei=T2fwU8jPMdG7wAHx4IGYAw&url=http://www.highbrowmagazine.com/4190-study-links-wildlife-decline-human-trafficking

Study Links Wildlife Decline to Human Trafficking – Highbrow Magazine


Highbrow Magazine
Study Links Wildlife Decline to Human Trafficking
Highbrow Magazine
Brashares says he got the idea to study links between wildlife decline and social issues after seeing two seemingly unrelated news articles published the same week: A NY Times piece on the rise of child workers in Africa's fishing industry and a cover

and more »

|||||||http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&fd=R&ct2=us&usg=AFQjCNFhEateari99yMIcZZpmGzHeja6qw&clid=c3a7d30bb8a4878e06b80cf16b898331&cid=52778575674547&ei=PSznU9ipLobawAHb5oCYAw&url=http://www.highbrowmagazine.com/4190-study-links-wildlife-decline-human-trafficking