We are excited to release our People Powered Solutions for Neighborhood Jobs & the Local Economy. Based on in-depth, face-to-face conversations and planning sessions in Spanish, Tagalog, Cantonese, and English with over 220 District 11 residents and stakeholders, our results provide honest and powerful narratives of individuals, families, and communities' daily struggle to find work, raise families, and survive in District 11. Four prominent themes emerged from the voices of youth, elders, women and men talking and planning together: the chronic abuse of workers' rights and lack of workers rights education and advocacy; the lack of opportunities to build economic assets, including cooperatively owned assets; the need for culturally competent employment services and resources within the geographic boundaries of District 11; the need for public policy reforms to expand local job opportunities. Everyday youth, adults, and elders in our communities have the skills and talents to build a strong, local economy; what they lack is the investment and resources to make their dreams happen. The recommendations in our People Powered Solutions point the ways to new models, economic alternatives, and long lasting changes.
Local Hire (Research)
“The experience of the first three cities to implement city-wide minimum wages demonstrates that these laws can raise the earnings of low-wage workers with no negative impact on employment,” said John Schmitt, a senior economist at CEPR and an author of the study.
The report, “The Wage and Employment Impact of Minimum- Wage Laws in Three Cities,” evaluates the effects of city-specific minimum wage standards in San Francisco, Santa Fe, and Washington DC. The authors used data from a virtual census of establishments in these cities, their surrounding suburbs and nearby metropolitan areas and found these policies did not have significant negative effects on the employment of low-wage workers.
The authors compared wages and employment before and after the city minimum wage with changes over the same period in wages and employment in comparable establishments in nearby areas that did not see an increase in the minimum wage.
The report found that wages rose significantly in San Francisco and Santa Fe in fast food, food services, retail and low-wage establishments, but employment was unaffected. The findings support the view that modest increases in the minimum wage have no discernible impact on the employment prospects of low-wage workers.
“This report confirms what we have found generally in our numerous participatory research studies on the industry, based on more than 5000 surveys of restaurant workers and 300 employer interviews nationwide. Increasing the minimum wage for America's lowest-paid workers - restaurant workers - does not hurt our thriving industry; in fact, because restaurant workers consume so much in their own industry, we know that putting a few extra dollars in their pockets comes right back as stimulus to our industry and the economy as a whole,“ said Saru Jayaraman, Co-Director and Co-Founder of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United.
The authors also find that the increase in the minimum wage implemented in 1993 in Washington, DC, was too small to raise wages in the same sectors. In Washington, most workers were already above the new minimum wage and few workers were in the range affected by the new minimum. At the same time, the implementation of the minimum wage did not have any negative effects on employment for low-wage workers.
However, the cases in San Francisco and Santa Fe suggest that small establishments do not respond to minimum wages differently than larger firms. David Coss, the Mayor of Santa Fe, also concurred with the report’s findings: “I am proud of Santa Fe’s living wage law. I am also very proud of the businesses in Santa Fe who pay a living wage. Our work on the living wage has made Santa Fe a national leader and has strengthened our economy, community and working families.”
On April 8, 2009, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously passed an ordinance establishing a Green Retrofit and Workforce Program. The Ordinance calls for green retrofits to more than 1,000 city buildings and a workforce development policy that creates career pathways into good, green, safe jobs, targeting those in low?income neighborhoods. The result of a two?year campaign, the Ordinance was developed by the Los Angeles Apollo Alliance, a coalition formed by Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education (SCOPE) and comprised of more than 25 community, labor, and environmental organizations in Los Angeles. This groundbreaking Ordinance addresses major issues confronting society today – environmental, economic, and health – and represents the first time a program designed to retrofit buildings and reduce municipal energy and water costs has been combined with training for green, quality, union jobs, with the added provision of pathways out of poverty for residents in low?income neighborhoods and with consideration of worker and community health. The Ordinance represents a convergence of community organizing and local, state and federal initiatives to address climate change at a historic moment. At the local level, the ordinance is one component of the Green LA Climate Action Plan. At the state level, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32) requires a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. And at the federal level, stimulus funds are forthcoming to address the dual environmental and economic crises through investment in a green economy.
Over the next decade, the City and County of San Francisco will invest $27 billion in public infrastructure projects pursuant to its 2011-2020 Capital Plan, creating tens of thousands of jobs in the process. This investment presents policy makers with an extraordinary opportunity to address persistent pockets of high unemployment and poverty, to provide sustainable careers for populations facing systemic barriers to employment, and to strengthen labor standards and worker rights by targeting these job opportunities for residents of San Francisco’s local economically disadvantaged communities. This report first researches the unique nature of the building and construction workforce, and summarizes policies and programs that affect local hiring on public projects. It then presents data on who has worked on recent San Francisco projects and assesses the composition of the construction workforce and trade unions. Next, it offers three models of local hiring policies from other jurisdictions, before finally presenting key findings and recommendations for policy makers to consider in moving forward with a new approach to targeted community hiring in San Francisco.
This report shows that extreme
income disparity, sky-rocketing housing costs, extensive joblessness,
and poverty-level wages threaten Oakland’s economic stability and
resident prosperity. The report also shows how the city can lift its
residents out of poverty with a new economic development strategy focused on creating quality jobs.
Titled "Putting Oakland to Work: A Comprehensive Strategy to Create Real Jobs for Residents," the report by the East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy (EBASE) and the Oakland NetWork for Responsible Development (ONWRD) found that the bottom 20% of Oakland’s families control a mere three percent (3%) of Oakland’s wealth, and over half of Oakland’s households – both renters and owners- are “housing cost-burdened” because they spend more than a third of their income on housing costs.
Meanwhile, the need for creating employment opportunities in Oakland is great: close to 43,000 “high need” Oakland residents struggle with unemployment, earn poverty wages, or are discouraged from the job search process altogether. The situation may worsen over the next five years, as over two-thirds of the 44,000 accessible new jobs that will be created in the East Bay will not pay enough to lift a family of four out of poverty.
However, the report points out that a new, proactive economic development strategy could significantly improve the well-being of Oaklanders. It assesses the potential of six different industries – including retail, biotech, and “green industries” - to create jobs in Oakland. Its findings also highlight best practices such as raising wage standards, local hiring programs, and “career ladders” that help workers advance beyond entry level jobs.
“The report shows that while Oakland’s challenges are great, so is its opportunity. "Putting Oakland to Work"demonstrates that city intervention can successfully connect high need Oakland residents to family-sustaining jobs,” says Jennifer Lin, primary author and Research Director at the East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy. The study recommends that Oakland 1) adopt an economic development strategy that moves a quarter of Oakland’s high need residents (approximately 10,000 people) into family sustaining jobs over the next five years, 2) focus on attracting sectors that will provide job opportunities with good wages and benefits, 3) demand that new development projects
Click here to download the executive summary. (From EBASE Website)