Local authorities intervene to support workers’ rights
In cities and towns across the country, there has been a surge in action to protect workers’ rights.
BUT just released reportreleased by EPI, the Harvard Work and Working Life Program and Local Progress, provides a comprehensive overview of this local government workforce, highlighting what cities and other localities are doing and offering a blueprint for what they can do.
- 52 localities have introduced their own higher local minimum wages, and 19 have enacted paid sick leave laws. Some cities have passed cutting-edge laws requiring a predictable schedule, prohibiting arbitrary layoffs in certain industries, ensuring pay for independent freelancers, and protecting workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- At least 20 locations have established or are establishing dedicated local employment agencies, including major coastal cities such as New York, San Francisco, and Seattle, as well as cities such as Chicago, Denver, Minneapolis, St. Paul and soon in Tucson.
- Some cities require high, or at least legal, practice from their contractors by setting prevailing wages or a living wage, or by passing ordinances on responsible bidders. Others have created systems whereby permits or licenses can be revoked for labor infractions.
- While state laws prohibit some cities from passing laws, they can still do a lot: educate workers about their rights, provide good jobs for their municipal employees, set high standards for contractors and suppliers, communicate local conditions, and show community support. workers defending their labor rights.
While many local governments have taken on this new role of caring for workers, there is still huge untapped potential for further action.
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