The best way to advance policies to raise living standards for working people is for diverse groups to recognize that they share more in common than not. Since class identity has often been racialized, one of the greatest challenges to rebuilding the economic power of the working class lies in establishing multiracial solidarity on a national scale. It is important to remember that the same special interest groups that fund the opposition to policies such as the minimum wage and paid sick leave, and that support efforts to undermine collective bargaining power, are often the same ones aligned with support of voter suppression tactics that limit voting among people of color, low-income individuals, students, seniors, and people with disabilities. The best way to advance the needed economic policies is for diverse groups to recognize that they share more in common than not and work together to achieve their overlapping and intersecting agendas. Getting to that point requires honesty and a collective reckoning about race, white privilege, and institutional racism, with respect to the costs and benefits to each of us.
Advancing policies that address persistent racial disparities while also tackling class inequality will require abandoning the zero-sum mindset that says one group’s set of issues is totally distinct from and in direct competition with another’s. Overcoming this trap begins with defining a broader view of how all the issues are related. It will take a considerable amount of ongoing effort to shift the dominant narrative from one that divides the masses to one that creates a new world of possibilities that benefits all of us.
Gender Wage Gap
Progress on closing the gap between men’s and women’s wages in the U.S. economy has been glacially slow in recent decades—and gender wage parity has become a top priority for those committed to ensuring the economic security of American women. This priority is absolutely essential. No matter how you cut it, the gender wage gap is real and it matters. That said, pay parity cannot be the only goal for those looking to improve the economic lot of American women.
A better workplace infrastructure means stronger labor standards that not only provide decent wages, but also let workers take care of themselves or family members when they are sick. Policies that help workers, particularly women, balance work and family could meaningfully improve their ability to participate in the labor force. And, this increase in labor force participation would mean more earnings for families and more economic activity for the country.
We believe that by presenting data on income inequality by state, metro area, and county more states, regions, and cities will be persuaded to enact the bold policies America needs to become, once again, a land of opportunity for all. Read More.
While immigration is among the most important issues the country faces, misperceptions persist about fundamental aspects of this crucial topic—such as the size and composition of the immigrant population, as well as how immigration affects the economy and the workforce. Read More.
City governments are raising standards for working people—and state legislators are using preemption to lower them back down. Read More.
Criminal Legal System
Too often, criminal justice dysfunction undermines the prospects of thousands of people from successfully reentering the labor force. EARN groups document these problems and suggest policies that can open career pathways and strengthen the economic prospects—and therefore the long-term economic stability—of formerly incarcerated people and their families. Read More.