Ending the $2.13/Hour Tipped Minimum Wage Will Narrow the Latino Pay Gap

By Ricky Garza, Communications Coordinator, NCLR

Photo: Torbakhopper

Photo: Torbakhopper

While cities across the country are fighting for increases in the minimum wage, thousands of servers are stuck earning the shockingly low federal tipped minimum wage of $2.13 an hour. Unlike the standard minimum wage of $7.25, the tipped minimum wage has remained unchanged for 23 years, forcing workers to rely on tips for the majority of their income.

For these workers, who are disproportionately Latino, $2.13 per hour plus tips is rarely enough to make ends meet.

In a recent National Journal piece, tip work and insufficient pay are a fact of life for Jimmie Luthuli, a tipped worker earning $2.77 in Washington, DC. Though federal law says tipped workers earning less than the standard minimum wage after tips must be paid the difference—called the tip credit—Jimmie Luthuli often makes far less. According to the Economic Policy Institute, 83.8 percent of full-service restaurants surveyed by the Department of Labor violated tip credit provisions.

Fortunately, some states have countered such labor violations by revising their minimum wage laws for tipped workers. In eight states around the country, the tipped minimum wage has been abolished in favor of a single minimum wage for all workers, tipped or otherwise. According to a new study from the National Women’s Law Center, these states have made progress in closing the pay gap between Latina workers and White men and reducing poverty rates between men and women.

In states that maintain separate tipped and standard minimum wages, the pay gap is larger. For these states, Latinas working full-time earn $0.51 on every White male worker’s dollar, a wage gap of $0.49. For Latinas working in states with a single minimum wage for all works, the pay gap falls slightly to $0.47. Although the decrease is small, the study underscores the fact that minimum wage policies have real implications for reducing racial pay disparities.

Beyond this, the report also found female tipped minimum wage workers in states without a separate tipped minimum wage have poverty rates 33 percent lower than in states with tipped minimum wages of $2.13 an hour. While women still had higher poverty rates than men in all states, ending the tipped minimum wage made a significant difference in lowering these rates.

The tipped minimum wage should end and be replaced with a strong living wage applicable to all workers. Policymakers from city halls to statehouses to Congress should ensure no one working full-time is forced to live in poverty. For Latino families, raising the minimum wage for all workers would represent a significant step in the fight against poverty and the persistent racial wealth gap. It’s time to end the unconscionably low tipped minimum wage and give all workers the robust living wage they deserve.

Unmasking the Common Core: Shedding Light on Its Educational Benefits

By Kevin Myers, Director of Academic Achievement, Youth Policy Institute Charter Schools

40x504_commoncore_72aAt the Youth Policy Institute Charter Schools (YPICS), we have been focusing on the big picture. A huge portion of our summer professional development series was spent refocusing on our school hallmarks, mission, vision, and outcomes. A clear understanding of why we are doing what we are doing is imperative to the success of an organization. Many people jump into a job, a frame of mind, or a pedagogy without fully understanding the big picture or the “why” behind it. This is certainly true for the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), and many people who do not understand the purpose behind these standards are raising huge concerns about them.

When I was a student trudging my way through the college track for math at my high school, I struggled on homework and tests if the assigned problems differed in any way from the examples given in class. Anything short of substituting new numbers into the algorithm demonstrated in class would send me on a downward spiral of confusion and frustration, leading me to come in early the next day to work with my teacher on my homework. At the time, I did not have any concept of instructional pedagogy. I didn’t know that my teacher was teaching to a very low depth of understanding. It was similar in my other classes. I had always enjoyed reading, but mainly I enjoyed stories for their plot and not necessarily for the deeper meanings and lessons intended to be learned by the reader. I needed support and instruction that would scaffold my learning and thinking; I needed guidance in order to think more analytically.

The instruction required by the CCSS is different than the state standards we have all grown to know and understand, and this is scary for some people. Parents who learned reading, writing, and arithmetic another way are fearful about how they will support their kids as the current generation of students learns concepts in a totally new instructional paradigm. Teachers who have been using a certain set of strategies for their entire career are worried about how to instruct their classes with this new set of standards.

CCSS_boys_303x197But a lot of this discomfort is fear of the unknown. Many people are attacking the CCSS without reading them or fully understanding that the underlying purpose of these standards is better comprehension. We don’t just want our kids to be able to “do problems” or to simply read a text; we want our kids to push to deeper levels of analysis and understanding that will help them succeed in college and in their careers. And that is what is at the heart of Common Core State Standards.

At Youth Policy Institute Charter Schools in Los Angeles, we have fully embraced the Common Core standards. We see them as a set of requirements that will guide our teachers to do what they do best: teach! We feel that teaching the Common Core is not new and different—it’s just quality instruction. Our goal has always been college readiness for all of our students. At YPICS, we ask our kids to CRACLL: to be College Ready, Active Citizens, and Lifelong Learners. The depth of understanding required by the Common Core allows our teachers to continue to develop lessons that will help our kids to not only CRACLL, but to also be ready for college and for their careers.

As a nation of students returns to school, teachers need to be ready to implement the Common Core State Standards. Instead of facing this new endeavor with fear and apprehension, I would encourage our country’s teachers to dive in and give the CCSS their all. Teachers want success for their kids, and quality implementation of the Common Core State Standards will help our kids to get there.

Latino Leaders Dismayed by President’s Immigration Delay, Will Push Community to Vote in November

Imm_Presser_post1Today, we joined the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda for a press conference to express our disappointment with President Obama’s recent decision to delay immigration action and to reveal the latest Congressional immigration scorecard. Our President and CEO, Janet Murguía, as well as our Vice President for Policy, Eric Rodriguez, represented NCLR. Latino voter engagement was also a major focus of the event as we gear up for the mid-term elections, which are just eight weeks away. If you haven’t registered yet, do it now and go to the polls in November!

Watch the full press event below. We’ve also included higlights from the event after the video.

Weekly Washington Outlook – September 8, 2014

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What to Watch This Week:

Congress:

House of Representatives:

House members return Monday afternoon from their “summer vacation” to consider twenty-one uncontroversial bills under suspension of the rules. The majority of these are naming postal facilities. Others on the calendar include:

1) H.R. 2495 - American Super Computing Leadership Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Randy Hultgren / Science Committee)

2) H.R. 5309 - Tsunami Warning, Education, and Research Act of 2014 (Sponsored by Rep. Suzanne Bonamici / Science Committee)

3) H.R. 744 - Stopping Tax Offenders and Prosecuting Identity Theft Act of 2014 (Sponsored by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz / Judiciary Committee)

4) H.R. 3109 - To amend the Migratory Bird Treaty Act to exempt certain Alaskan Native articles from prohibitions against sale of items containing nonedible migratory bird parts (Sponsored by Rep. Don Young / Natural Resources Committee)

5) H.R. 4283 - To amend the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to maintain or replace certain facilities and structures for commercial recreation services at Smith Gulch in Idaho (Sponsored by Rep. Mike Simpson / Natural Resources Committee)

6) H.J.Res. 120 – Approving the location of a memorial to commemorate the more than 5,000 slaves and free Black persons who fought for independence in the American Revolution(Sponsored by Rep. G.K. Butterfield / Natural Resources Committee)

7) H.R. 4527 - To remove a use restriction on land formerly a part of Acadia National Park that was transferred to the town of Tremont, Maine (Sponsored by Rep. Michael Michaud / Natural Resources Committee)

8) H.R. 4751 - To make technical corrections to Public Law 110‐229 to reflect the renaming of the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial (Sponsored by Rep. Derek Kilmer / Natural Resources Committee)

On Tuesday and the balance of the week, the House will continue to vote on bills under suspension of the rules, including:

1) H.R. 5057 – EPS Service Parts Act of 2014, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Cory Gardner / Energy and Commerce Committee)

2) S. 276 – A bill to reinstate and extend the deadline for commencement of construction of a hydroelectric project involving the American Falls Reservoir (Sponsored by Sen. James Risch / Energy and Commerce Committee)

3) H.R. 5161 – E-LABEL Act (Sponsored by Rep. Bob Latta / Energy and Commerce Committee)

4) H.R. 4067 – To provide for the extension of the enforcement instruction on supervision requirements for outpatient therapeutic services in critical access and small rural hospitals through 2014(Sponsored by Rep. Lynn Jenkins / Energy and Commerce Committee)

5) H.R. 4701 – Vector-Borne Disease Research Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Chris Gibson / Energy and Commerce Committee)

6) H.R. 4290 – Wakefield Act of 2014 (Sponsored by Rep. Jim Matheson / Energy and Commerce Committee)

7) H.R. 3670 – Anti-Spoofing Act of 2013 (Sponsored by Rep. Grace Meng / Energy and Commerce Committee)

8) H.R. 669 – Sudden Unexpected Death Data Enhancement and Awareness Act (Sponsored by Rep. Frank Pallone / Energy and Commerce Committee)

In addition to possible consideration of a continuing resolution, the House has scheduled votes on the following legislation:

H.R. 5078 - Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act of 2014 (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Steve Southerland / Transportation and Infrastructure Committee)

H.Res. 644 - Condemning and disapproving of the Obama administration’s failure to comply with the lawful statutory requirement to notify Congress before releasing the Taliban 5 (Subject to a Rule)(Sponsored by Rep. Scott Rigell / Armed Services Committee)

H.R. 3522 - Employee Health Care Protection Act of 2013 (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Bill Cassidy / Energy and Commerce Committee / Ways and Means Committee)

Senate:

The Senate returns Monday evening and has scheduled confirmation votes on several executive and judicial nominees. After those votes, the Senate will take a procedural vote to advance S.J.Res. 19, a joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States relating to contributions and expenditures intended to affect elections. If the Senate does not move this amendment forward, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will either move to bring up any of the following:

  • A bill sponsored by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 (S. 2223)
  • A bill sponsored by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) to allow students to refinance their loans at lower rates by enacting the “Buffet Rule” to levy higher taxes on investment-based income (S. 2432)
  • A bill sponsored by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) to overturn the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision exempting closely-held religious corporations from providing contraception to employees (S. 2578).

All three measures have previously been blocked and bringing them back is part of a legislative strategy to advance a Democratic agenda before the mid-terms.

White House:

On Monday, the president will attend meetings at the White House with Treasury Secretary Lew and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack. On Tuesday, he will meet at the White House with the “Big Four:” Senate Majority Leader Reid (D-Nev.), Senate Minority Leader McConnell (R-Ky.), House Speaker Boehner (R-Ohio), and House Minority Leader Pelosi (D-Calif.). On Wednesday evening, the president will address the nation on the situation on his foreign policy and the situation with the Islamic State. On Thursday, President Obama, the Vice President, the First Lady, and White House staff will gather on the South Lawn of the White House to observe a moment of silence to mark the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. The president and first lady will then travel to the Pentagon Memorial to attend the September 11th Observance Ceremony. On Friday, the president will deliver remarks at an AmeriCorps Pledge ceremony on the South Lawn to mark the 20th anniversary of the national service program. Joining him will be President Clinton, who established the program and swore in the first class in 1994.  In the evening, President Obama will travel to Baltimore to attend a DSCC event.

Next Week and Beyond:

Appropriations – Now that Congress has returned from its five-week recess, the first order of business is passing a spending resolution to keep the government open beyond September 30. Despite speculation earlier this summer that members would try to force a shutdown over immigration-related policy riders, House and Senate Leadership have made clear that this stopgap measure will not have anything controversial that would prevent its passage. There is a clear desire to take care of this must-pass legislation as quickly and quietly as possible to allow members to return to their districts to campaign. While exact details of the continuing resolution remain are not yet known, signs indicate it will extend current spending levels through mid-December.

Immigration – In response to concerns from vulnerable Senate Democrats up for re-election this cycle, the White House announced over the weekend its intention to delay announcing its plan for administrative relief until after the mid-term elections.

Campaign Finance – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) plans to schedule a vote on S.J. Res. 19, a constitutional amendment that would set limits on campaign contributions. The amendment is a legislative response to the Citizens United and McCutcheon Supreme Court cases that removed such limits. This vote is largely symbolic as the House is unlikely to bring the measure up. If it were to pass both Houses of Congress, three-fourths of state legislatures would then need to ratify the resolution.

Healthcare – The House will vote this week on a healthcare messaging bill. H.R. 3522 would allow health insurers to sell the plans offered in 2013, before new standards in coverage took effect under Affordable Care Act (ACA). The measure is sponsored by Congressman Bill Cassidy (R-La.), running for Senate in a tight contest against Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.). Elsewhere, the House Ways and Means Committee’s Health Subcommittee will hold a hearing Wednesday on ACA implementation.

Education – Little is expected on education in Congress in September. The Senate may vote on a bill from Senator Warren allowing students to refinance their loans, but this is not likely to advance. Elsewhere, the House Education and Workforce Committee’s K-12 Subcommittee will hold a hearing Wednesday on Department of Education oversight. The Senate Special Committee on Aging will also meet Wednesday, but will focus on senior citizen’s student loan debt.

Tax – Treasury Secretary Lew will speak on Monday at the Urban Institute on the need to restructure the corporate tax system. He is not expected to announce a new plan to stem corporate inversions. On the Hill, Senator Schumer (D-N.Y.) released a draft bill aimed at making inversions less attractive by limiting future interest deductions to companies that reincorporate abroad. As drafted, the bill would be retroactive to any inversion after 1994.

Banking – The Senate Banking Committee will hear from Mary Jo White, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and Timothy Massad, chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, on Tuesday. The three will testify on the Dodd-Frank Act’s effectiveness at regulating the financial sector.

Law Enforcement – As a response to the situation in Ferguson, Mo., the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on Tuesday on the militarization of local police. The hearing will address federal programs providing military-grade equipment to law enforcement.

Latino Millennials’ Attitudes Toward the Job Market

New job numbers are out which also means the latest Monthly Latino Employment Report is also out. Last month, Latino unemployment fell to 7.5 percent. While there was lower-than-average employment growth overall this August compared to last, there were better outcomes for Latino workers.

This month’s report also takes a closer look at the challenges Millennials of color are facing as they enter the job market.

Read more in the report below:

Janet Murguía on Immigration

Our President and CEO, Janet Murguía, joined MSNBC host José Díaz-Balart this morning to talk about immigration reform and what kind of executive action we want from the Obama administration going forward. Watch the full interview below.

Juntos, Learning and Teaching

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By Felicia Medellin, NCLR Escalera Program Manager

On August 13–14 in Chicago, the NCLR Education team convened 22 Affiliates for training of the Escalera Program, a 15-month college- and career-readiness program for high school students.

The training focused on the program’s senior-year curriculum and began with asking the Affiliates to reflect on what they have learned thus far. One attendee said, “I appreciated having the opportunity to learn from my peers and hear about their struggles and successes with the program.” Attendees had fun selecting a song or movie title that reflected their experience with the program and sharing it with the group. They also had the chance to co-teach lessons with their peers, sharing teaching and developmental strategies to apply with their specific student populations. Another attendee said, “I most benefitted from the opportunity to develop lessons as a group and get immediate feedback.”

Research demonstrates that culturally-competent support services, such as those offered by NCLR Affiliates, can ensure that Latino students do well in their studies and are prepared for 21st century career success. NCLR will continue to support the Affiliates’ program implementation efforts through site visits, webinars, and other meetings. This initiative is a long-term commitment to ensure that Latino youth are prepared for academic and career success and have equal opportunities for economic advancement.

The senior-year curriculum tool kit consists of 41 lessons grouped in 13 module units. The lessons guide students through the process of applying for college, scholarships, and financial aid, while others focus on leadership skills, financial literacy, and practical job training. This skills development is a continuation from the junior/summer curriculum consisting of 52 lessons in 15 modules. Together, NCLR has created a robust curriculum to assist its Affiliate Network with changing the lives of more than 700 Latino high school seniors.

A Small-Town Mayor with Big Hopes for Immigration Reform

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Paul Bridges, former mayor of Uvalda, Ga., accepts the 2013 NCLR Capital Award

Paul Bridges is the former mayor of Uvalda, a small town in Southern Georgia, where the local, agriculturally driven economy relies on the skills of migrant workers. He is also a Republican who strongly believes President Obama must relieve the “terror” that his town’s migrant workers experience due to the constant threat of deportation.

We sat down with Mr. Bridges to talk about the economic benefits of immigration reform, the consequences of the House of Representatives’ failure to act, and what he hopes the president will do to fix our broken immigration system.

NCLR: It’s expected that President Obama will use his legitimate executive authority to provide relief from deportations to people who have been in the United States for an extensive period of time and who contribute to their communities. What would it mean for people in your town if they could come forward and live without the fear of being separated from their families? If they could work lawfully?

Bridges: (click play button)

NCLR: When it comes to Uvalda, how would administrative relief change the lives of those currently living with fear of deportation?

Bridges: 

NCLR: Could you tell us the story of someone you know who would benefit from the president providing administrative relief? How would helping this individual and others like him or her help a town like Uvalda?

Bridges: 

NCLR: After the historic passage of the Senate Gang of Eight’s comprehensive immigration reform bill, the House of Representatives failed to act. In the wake of this inaction, what should President Obama do to provide relief to communities across the country?

Bridges:

NCLR: This year you received the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award—and the NCLR Capital Award in 2012—for your work on immigration reform. Why is this issue personally important to you?

Bridges:

Agree with Mr. Bridges and want to show your support for the millions living in fear? Sign our petition to let the president know the time for administrative immigration relief is now!

Still Need to Send Documents to the Marketplace? Time is Running Out.

(Cross-posted from the Healthcare.gov blog.)

ACA_Sept5We’ve been reaching out to some of you by mail, email, and phone if some information you gave us on your Health Insurance Marketplace application doesn’t match the data we have on file. It’s important that you submit the documents we need so we can help you stay covered through the Marketplace and keep any help you get with premiums and cost-sharing.

We know you’re listening because we’re getting thousands of documents every day and are working around the clock to review these documents to confirm you are eligible for Marketplace coverage. If you’ve mailed or uploaded documents already, we’ll let you know as soon as we’ve finished reviewing them.

If you’ve been getting reminder calls, letters and emails from us, but still haven’t submitted the documents we are asking for, now is the time. Some of you got a warning notice in the mail telling you that September 5, 2014 is your last deadline to submit these documents.

If you don’t respond:

  • You are at risk of losing your Marketplace health insurance
  • Your premium tax credits or help with cost-sharing may be changing or ending

If you don’t act now, we will send you a final notice in September telling you that your last day of Marketplace coverage will be September 30.

Here’s what you can do now to make sure you stay covered:

  • Look at your Marketplace eligibility notice or reminder notice to see who needs to provide more information and to review the list of documents we need.
  • Log in to your Marketplace account and then select your current application. Use the menu on the left side of your screen to click on Application Details. On the next screen, you’ll see a list of any data matching issues (called “inconsistencies” on the screen) in your application. Follow the steps for each inconsistency to upload the documents needed to fix the issue.
  • Don’t use the following characters in the name of the file that you upload: / \ : * ? “ < > |.
  • Get detailed instructions on how to upload documents.

If you received a letter from us [Health and Human Services (HHS)], but think you’ve already submitted your documents, or have questions, we’re here to help. Call the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596 and tell them you got a data matching warning notice. TTY users should call 1-855-889-4325. The call is free.

You also can contact one of our partners in your community to get one-on-one help. They can help you figure out what documents you need and help you upload them onto the website. To find one of these local partners, visit Find Local Help.

If you’ve already submitted your documents and you get another email or call from us or your insurance company after that – it’s possible that we’re still matching your information. We’ll [HHS] let you know once we have processed your information.

We know how important it is for you and your family to stay covered in the Marketplace, and it’s important to us too. We’ll continue working with you to make sure we have everything we need to resolve these issues.