Supporting Working Mothers
This week as we honor mothers everywhere, the JCPA would like to turn our attention to working mothers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2008, 16% (or 24.6 million) of the civilian labor force were working mothers with children under the age of 18. These are hard-working women, holding down (sometimes multiple) jobs to provide a better life for themselves and their families. The second wave of the women's rights movement fought for the right of women to work. But as poor Americans across the country know, it has never been a luxury, but instead a necessity for low-income women to hold down jobs.
Putting An End to Wage Theft
Deceitful employers steal wages from hundreds of thousands of low-wage workers each week. The crime of wage theft is vastly under-reported, yet advocates for low-wage workers claim that many hard working individuals suffer from this crime regularly. Hebrew scripture clearly speaks out against the crime of wage theft: "You shall not abuse a needy and destitute laborer, whether a fellow countryman or a stranger in one of the communities of your land. You must pay him his wages on the same day, before the sun sets, for he is needy and urgently depends on it; else he will cry to the Lord against you and you will incur guilt." Deuteronomy (24:14-15).
Equal Work for Equal Pay
While many advancements have been made since the Equal Pay Act passed in 1963, one reality remains the same-a glass ceiling persists in terms of paychecks, even when women are doing the same work as men. Women currently earn 77 cents for every dollar paid to men. According to a January 2010 report by the National Women's Law Center, the gender wage gap becomes even more exacerbated when you factor in race and national origin. "Minority women fare significantly worse when compared to white, non-Hispanic men. In 2008, African American women working full-time, year-round earned 61% of the wages of white, non-Hispanic men, while Hispanic women earned just 52% of the wages of white, non Hispanic men." "As of 2008, Washington, D.C. was the area with the smallest wage gap, at 88%, whereas Wyoming had the widest gap, with women making about 64% of what men earned." There is no state in which women earn more or equal pay to men.
10 Modern-Day Plagues for Passover
This week, Jews around the world will sit at tables, eat matzo, and tell the story of Passover. In doing so, they will discuss the ten plagues that inundated the people of ancient Egypt: blood, frogs, insects, wild beasts, cattle disease, boils, hail, locusts, darkness, and the slaying of the first born.
While we do not have to worry about frogs falling from the sky, Americans are still plagued with a host of pernicious problems relating to modern society. Inspired by the Hagaddah created by the Community Relations Committee of the Jewish Federation of Nashville, we offer up 10 modern-day plagues with possible solutions for easing the pain brought on by these issues:
Comprehensive Immigration Reform: Pathway Out of Poverty
Last Sunday more than two hundred thousand advocates gathered in Washington, D.C. to call on Congress and the White House to take swift action to enact comprehensive immigration reform. The last time such a movement took place was in 2006 when mass rallies and marches in favor of immigration reform swept the nation. That was the last time Congress came close to passing a comprehensive policy. President Obama and supporters in Congress said a bill could be introduced sometime this year. Representative Luis Gutierrez (IL-D) has already introduced his version of comprehensive immigration reform legislation in the House of Representatives. Senators Church Schumer (NY-D) and Lindsey Graham (SC-R) are working on the issue in the Senate and are expected to introduce legislation in the coming months.
The Jewish community has been a strong advocate for comprehensive immigration reform not just for the humanitarian and civil rights aspects, but also because of the ability for such a policy to strengthen our economy and bring families out of poverty. About 10.8 million unauthorized immigrants live in the U.S. Undocumented immigrants make up 5.2% of the American labor force. These are people living the shadows, working hard (many times multiple jobs), and frequently struggling to make ends meet. Because of their undocumented status, countless immigrants cannot access many of the protections and programs legal citizens can.
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