Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Disappearing Wages

Posted by Carlos Navarro on November 15, 2008 on Bread Blog
In the midst of our U.S. (and global) economic crisis, much of the recent discussion in the media has focused on job losses and saving jobs and not as much on whether those who are employed are getting a fair wage. And in those instances where wages are mentioned, the discussion turns to asking workers to accept a pay cut in order to save jobs or save a company. While saving and creating jobs should certainly remain a priority for our country's leaders, the issue of just wages and a fair minimum wage should not be ignored.

And there are many good people who are not letting us forget about this issue of fair wages, including Kim Bobo, director of the Interfaith Worker Justice network. Kim, who served as Bread for the World's director of organizing from 1976 to 1986, recently published her new book Wage Theft In America: Why Millions in America Are Not Getting Paid - And What We Can Do About It.

Here's is paragraph from the promo of the book:

In what has been described as "the crime wave that no one talks about," wages are stolen from millions of workers in the United States every year. Between two and three million workers are paid less than the minimum wage. More than three million are misclassified by their employees as independent contractors when they are really employees, allowing employers to shirk their share of payroll taxes and to illegally deny workers overtime pay. Even the Economic Policy Foundation, a business-funded think tank, estimated that companies annually steal 19 billion dollars in unpaid overtime.
Read the rest of the description of the book

If you want to learn more about this book, Kim has scheduled a book tour in the following cities:

Nov. 19-20 New York, NY
Nov. 21-23 Columbus, GA (SOA Vigil)
Nov. 25 Washington, DC
Dec. 1-3 New York, NY / Montclair, NJ
Jan. 21, 2009 Twin Cities, MN
Jan 28-29 Boston, MA
Jan 30-31 Phoenix, AZ
Feb 6 New York, NY

Click here for exact locations

Order a copy

Kim also authored another great book Lives Matter: A Handbook on Christian Organizing, which is based partly on her experiences at Bread for the World

And if you want to know about the great things she has accomplished since her days at Bread for the World, here is her bio on Wikipedia.

(And she is on Facebook, in case you want to befriend her).

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sex for Garbage

Sometimes a shocking story (shocking to those living lives of comfort) sweeps around the anti-poverty circles, that succintly highlights the urgent need for aid and advocacy. The last one I featured here was the story about nursing mothers eating mud cakes just to fill their stomachs. Horrible. This next one comes from Bread for the World who has staff traveling abroad in Central America. Here is an excerpt from Brian Duss' experience in Nicaragua...

"Have you ever heard of people trading sex for garbage? In the La Chureca landfill just outside of Managua, children scavenge 100 acres of garbage for anything that can be sold for pennies. Sometimes girls have sex with the truck drivers who dump refuse at the landfill in exchange for bottles or aluminum cans -- instead of the 20 cents they might otherwise get. What can you even do with information like that? Seriously. Well, a good first step would be to write your senators and representative in Congress and let them know that you want them to make foreign assistance a priority. "

Read the entire entry here

Their trip is still going on, so you can check into the Bread blog at www.breadblog.org to see what other countries they visit and what they are up to.