Utilities around the country are facing serious challenges, including an aging infrastructure and a need to transition to cleaner energy sources. These challenges are particularly evident at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), the nation’s largest municipally owned utility. The LADWP can begin to meet these challenges by adopting an innovative and ambitious energy efficiency policy with new programs that save customers money, reduce greenhouse gas pollution, and create good jobs. In doing so, the LADWP will take a significant step towards modeling a transition all utilities must make, from being entities concerned solely with the rapid acquisition and dispersal of natural resources to agencies proactively engaged with energy planning and management.
Ohio is among the many states that fail to leverage corporate subsidies for good jobs, according to a new national study. “The least we should do is require that these companies create good jobs that allow workers to support and care for their families,” says Wendy Patton of Policy Matters.
First, the good news: Virginia’s workers are among America’s most productive. The state ranks in the top 10 in terms of worker productivity. More Virginians are
working and rates of participation in the labor force outstrip those of the United States as a whole and those of its nearest state neighbors.
Now, the bad news: Virginians are working harder and longer than ever, but are paid far less than they contribute. The growing gap between high and low wage earners in our economy has remained at the highest levels recorded since 1979. To make matters more challenging, coverage for health insurance and pensions has shrunk. And for those who do have health insurance, premiums in Virginia are among the highest in the country. Unemployment rates are on the rise, but the number of unemployed covered by the unemployment insurance system continues to lag.
The 2000 to 2010 decade was a hard one for America’s and Washington’s working families. While the top fifth gained wealth despite two recessions and sharp stock market swings, for most people the dream of attaining the hallmarks of the American middle class grew further out of reach. Holding a steady job, owning a home, sending the kids to college, affording medical care, saving for a secure retirement, each generation having more opportunity than the previous – these now all seem like relics of the 20th century.
This report reviews the current state of working Washington, including gains and losses in employment by sector and region, trends in income and wages, and changes in the workforce. It considers how unemployment affects the state and describes how increasing poverty levels impact families and communities. It evaluates the issue of economic security: what it means to have a job that provides a living wage and a home; benefits that include health insurance and time off to care for loved ones; access to high quality education, from pre-school through college; and retirement security – in short, the opportunity to work, save, and plan for the future. Finally, it suggests public policies that can begin to rebuild broadly shared prosperity for Washington’s working families.