Today people all across the world celebrate International Workers´ Day. This date has a long, storied past; from the battles in the late 1900s for an 8-hour day that led to this celebration, to the many fights for across many decades, each a step towards social justice and change.
Today is a day of celebration, a tribute to past victories. It is also a reminder, however, of all the work ahead in our fight for a just, equitable, inclusive society.
Our nation is wealthier than it has ever been. Unemployment is low, corporate profits are soaring, the stock market has reached record highs. The Great Recession is a decade behind us, and economic growth plunges forward, yet this growth remains out of reach for most of us.
Connecticut ranks third among all 50 states in income inequality. The top 1% take home 27% of all the income in our state. All income growth since 2009 has gone to the wealthiest 1% in Connecticut, while income for the other 99% of state residents has actually declined. Racial disparities persist in the workplace. Blacks and Latinos make, on average, 65 cents to the dollar compared to white workers. Women earn 87 cents to the dollar compared to men.
These are not new trends. In the US, the past few decades have seen a steady erosion of workers' rights, a drastic decline of union membership, and a dramatic increase in wealth inequality. Working families have been under siege as policymakers have taken one step after another to cut taxes on the wealthy and corporations, give more power to bosses, and cut budgets and services to the bone.
We are fighting back. Last year, Connecticut voters gave Democrats huge majorities in the General Assembly. Thanks to your hard work we elected a Governor who as a candidate ran on a pro-worker, progressive platform. Candidates up and down the ballot pledged support for a $15 minimum wage, paid family and medical leave, and other pro-worker policies.
It is time to hold them accountable and ensure they fulfill these promises.
The General Assembly is currently debating bills that would implement paid family and medical leave, raise the minimum wage, and establish fair work scheduling in our state. Each of these policies will be a game changer for the well-being of hundreds of thousands of families in our state. Only 11% of private sector workers have access to paid family leave; passing this bill will extend this benefit to the whole workforce. Raising the minimum wage will give an immediate raise to 332,000 Connecticut workers. Fair scheduling will protect the rights of over 200,000 hourly workers employed in retail and food service establishments in our state.
All three of these bills are close to the finish line - and we need your help. It is time to contact your legislators and ask them to support worker´s rights. On this May Day, we need you to write, e-mail, or call your elected officials and remind them of their pledge, and what a day like today means.
Paid Family Leave
Paid Family & Medical Leave in Connecticut is long overdue, CT workers need-and overwhelmingly support-REAL paid leave that is publicly administered, accessible, and inclusive of ALL workers. Click here to send a letter to your local legislators, urging them to pass REAL Paid Family and Medical Leave.
$15 Minimum Wage
The time is now for Connecticut to join the growing list of states passing a $15 minimum wage, including three of our neighbors next door - New York, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. Click here to sign the petition.
Fair Work Week
Because of an abusive practice known as "on-call scheduling," many of Connecticut's workers lack the predictability and stability to properly budget, care for their families, and seize and create economic opportunities for themselves and others. Click here to Send a letter to your legislators urging them to vote for the Fair Workweek bill.