Democratic Senators Take the Lead in Advocating for Workers’ Safety in the Workplace

By Yuqi Wang, Policy Analyst, Economic Policy Project, UnidosUS

Every worker deserves to be safe in their workplace and to know that their well-being is a priority for their employers. Unfortunately, that is not always a reality—in 2015, the AFL-CIO found that 4,386 U.S. workers were killed on the job. That year, a staggering 903 Latinos had a workplace-related fatality, the highest number of Latino deaths in 10 years. This means that about 2.5 Latinos die just trying to make a living each day.

A national poll recently released by UnidosUS (formerly National Council of La Raza) found that safe working conditions and protections intended to promote workers’ safety and well-being are lacking for many low-income Latino workers:

  • One in five low-income workers (20 percent) reported that going to work sick or delaying a medical appointment is a problem they have experienced in the workplace.
  • More than one-quarter of low-wage Latino workers (28 percent) received no orientation at their jobs.
  • More than one-third (34 percent) of low-wage earning respondents received no training about workplace rights or safety.
  • When low-income Latino workers try to speak up about their concerns or dissatisfaction with their working conditions, they report experiencing employer retaliation. Nearly one in two workers have said they or someone they know have been treated differently or punished for raising workplace problems.

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Congress: Don’t Turn Your Back on Workers Struggling to Save for Retirement

By Yuqi Wang, Policy Analyst, Economic Policy Project, NCLR

Social Security is widely recognized as playing an important role in workers’ retirement security. In 2015 alone, Social Security benefits kept 22 million retirees out of poverty, and more than 60% of elderly beneficiaries relied on Social Security for most of their retirement cash income.

To celebrate National Social Security Month this April, the Social Security Administration created an online guide that workers can use to learn more about the program and its benefits.

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How States Are Planning to Fix the Country’s Retirement Crisis

By Yuqi Wang, Economic Policy Analyst, NCLR

Photo: www.aag.com, http://ow.ly/IYcvj

A secure retirement is a right of all workers, yet 45 percent of working-age households in the U.S. do not have either an employer-sponsored retirement plan, such as a 401(k), or an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). For Latinos, the data paints a starker picture: 60 percent of Latino workers do not have access to an employer-sponsored retirement plan, which is among the most effective ways for people to save for retirement.

Having states provide auto-enroll IRAs to private sector workers who don’t have access to such benefits through their workplaces and who tend to be lower-income is one effective solution. State-based retirement plans benefit employees of small businesses where 50 percent of employers don’t offer retirement plans. It also allows employers to provide IRAs to employees without requiring the employer to sponsor or contribute to the IRAs. Workers who participate are automatically opted in to a retirement savings account that takes out a predetermined amount from monthly paychecks and saves it in the IRA. Workers also have the option to opt-out at any time. Several states already passed legislation enacting these plans (e.g. California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, and Oregon), with 27 more states considering this or other program variants.

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February Yields Strong Growth for Latino Workers

Photo: One Day Closer

Today, the U.S. Department of Labor reported that employers added 235,000 jobs in February, a hefty gain that far exceeded economists’ prediction of 190,000 jobs. Additionally, the national unemployment rate decreased by 0.1 percentage points to 4.7 percent. The U.S. Federal Reserve says that he low rate, which has stayed under 5 percent since April 2016 indicates our economy is at or near full employment.

The Latino unemployment rate dropped by almost half a percentage point to 5.6 percent last month. An increase in construction appears to have spurred Latino employment. The industry added 58,000 jobs with the most growth in specialty trade contractors and heavy and civil engineering construction. While Latinos comprise nearly 1/3 of construction jobs, they are more likely to be in lower-wage labor positions.

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Latino Unemployment Rate Holds at 5.9%

Employers in the United States added 227,000 jobs last month. These figures are the latest numbers the Depart of Labor issued in their monthly employment report. The unemployment rate ticked up slightly from 4.7% in December to 4.8% in January. Latino unemployment kept steady at 5.9%.

Our latest Latino Jobs Report, shows that participation in the labor force, however, did increase for all workers. Translation: people who were previously not in the labor force are now returning to it. The rate of Latino worker labor force participation stands at 66.1%, the highest of all other racial and ethnic groups

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