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PW 47-2 quality jobs

Six years after the end of the Great Recession, jobs are finally becoming more plentiful in North Carolina, but the overwhelming majority of those jobs don’t pay enough to make ends meet, provide necessary benefits to help families get by, or create sustainable pathways into middle-class prosperity. In short, North Carolina is not creating enough quality jobs—employment opportunities that pay workers enough maintain basic spending on necessities like food and doctor visits, ensure retirement security, and provide paid time off when they or family members are sick. And without enough quality jobs, the middle class will shrink, consumer spending will drop, local business sales will suffer, and the overall economy will contract.

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Commentary

Thom_Tillis_official_portraitIf the simple and undeniable fact that lots of humans fail at basic hygiene procedures without reminders and rules isn’t enough to convince Senator Thom Tillis of the need for “burdensome” hand washing rules in restaurants (see the post below), here’s another fact that you would think would be persuasive: the widespread lack of paid sick days laws. Thanks to Tillis and his conservative friends, the U.S. is one of a small handful of countries that doesn’t guarantee workers some paid time off when they or a family member gets sick. Needless to say, North Carolina doesn’t require them either.

The result, of course, is that lots of people come to work — including in restaurants and other businesses in which they interact with the public — sick and contagious. Given such an absurd situation, you’d think the least Tillis and his fellow ideologues could do is toss the public a bone in the form of support for strong hygiene laws.

Absent some kind of turnaround on the Senator’s part, however, it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. According to Typhoid Thom and his fellow ideologues, the “genius of the market” will take care of the problem since consumers will stop patronizing restaurants where people are known to get sick.

All of which begs the question, of course, of whether we should also repeal such rules for hygiene in other private businesses like hospitals and other health care facilities. Maybe the senator can clarify his position on such a question in the coming days. We can’t wait.

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FamilyNot  according to a new and detailed report from the wonks at the Center for Economic and Policy Research that examined the New Jersey Family Leave Insurance (or FLI)  program. The program allows workers to take up to six weeks of paid leave (capped at $595 a week in 2014) to care for new babies, seriously ill relatives, or themselves. It is paid for by a small tax (up to 60 cents a week) on employees.

Among the major findings:

  • None of the participating employers reported that the Family Leave Insurance program affected their productivity or turnover.
  • Only two of 18 employers felt the program negatively affected their profitability.
  • Some participants found that the program improved employees’ morale. Read More
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Lunch links 3Here are five fast ones to get you, respectively: fired up, better informed, a little surprised, updated on an important anniversary and just plain sickened —

#1 -Scholars from colleges and universities around the state delivered a strong-worded letter this morning to Gov. McCrory and his state Budget Director, Art Pope, denouncing the harassment of Prof. Gene Nichol of the UNC School of Law by a group funded overwhelmingly by Pope. Sue Sturgis has the story at Facing South.

#2 – Flawed as it is, the pluses outweigh the minuses in the congressional budget deal — or so say the experts at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

#3 – ICYMI, Public Policy Polling had the latest last Thursday with respect to the the attitudes of North Carolinians on Gov. McCrory’s popularity, the 2016 presidential horse race and several other issues.

#4 – John Schmitt has an excellent post on the Center for Economic Policy Research blog summarizing a new report (that he co-authored) about the impact of the Family Medical Leave Act after 20 years on the books. It’s called “Job Protection Isn’t Enough: Why America Needs Paid Parental Leave.”

#5 And finally, the website takepart.com tells us that North Carolina is among the ten states nationally with the fastest growing populations of homeless students. Click here to read and weep about how ours rose an obscene 32% between 2009 and 2012.

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Paid sick leave[Cross-posted from Think Progress]

North Carolina could be next to throw a wrench into paid sick leave
By Bryce Covert

A wave of so-called “preemption” bills that block paid sick days legislation before it can even be introduced or passed has cropped up across the country. North Carolina could be the next state to pass such a law if Gov. Pat McCroy (R) signs HB74, or the Regulatory Reform Act of 2013, which is sitting on his desk awaiting his signature and takes an incremental step toward barring paid sick days legislation.

Section 5 of the bill blocks the rights of cities and counties to enact paid sick days requirements for government contract workers. While this wouldn’t impact the entire workforce, it could erode standards. As Vicki Meath, executive director of Just Economics, writes, because governments are required to accept the lowest acceptable bid, “Living wage policies help contractors level the playing field so that they can compete for city and county contracts on the basis of the quality of their work instead of a race to the bottom in terms of worker wages and benefits.” If those standards are raised, it can help raise the floor for all workers….

Read the rest of the post by clicking here.