EARN network members are actively engaged on a wide range of issues affecting working families in their states and communities. They provide original research, data analysis, policy recommendations and substantive advice to state and local lawmakers, coalitions, issue campaigns, and allied advocates, organizers, and grassroots engagement organizations. The network also engages in cross-state work, taking on an issue of common interest in a manner that both uplifts the issue as a national concern, while allowing for the specific recommendations and approaches to be adapted to local cultural, political, and economic conditions.
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.
Too often, states and cities pursue economic development strategies that amount to little more than tax giveaways to big corporations. Pushing back on this flawed approach, EARN groups design and promote smart economic development policies that invest in infrastructure, in people, and in the communities where opportunity is lacking.
High-quality and equitable education opportunities, ranging across early childhood, K-12, technical education, higher education and apprenticeships, are pivotal for the economic prospects of working people and their children.
Every American who wants to work should be able to get a job. EARN groups advance policies to make more good jobs available, and ensure that all people have the resources they need to obtain secure employment.
The minimum wage is a critical labor standard meant to ensure a fair wage for even the lowest paid workers. EARN groups have provided research and policy guidance for minimum wage laws passed in of states, cities, and counties across the country.
Overtime pay rules ensure that most workers who put in more than 40 hours a week get paid 1.5 times their regular pay for the extra hours they work. Almost all hourly workers are automatically eligible for overtime pay, but salaried workers are only automatically eligible for overtime pay if they make below a certain salary threshold, and that threshold has been so eroded by inflation that dramatically fewer workers qualify today than they did in 1975.
Paid family leave enables workers to take time off for the arrival of a child, or a serious health condition affecting themselves or a relative, without forcing them to choose between work and family.
There is no federal law that ensures all workers are able to earn paid sick days in the United States. EARN groups are working to enact state and local laws to ensure workers can take time off when they are sick.
City governments are raising standards for working people—and state legislators are using preemption to lower them back down.
Discrimination and systemic racism have caused dramatic and persistent racial inequality in virtually every measure of economic well-being. Improving economic conditions for all workers requires confronting the specific harms and challenges faced by workers and communities of color.
Wage theft, the practice of employers failing to pay workers the full wages to which they are legally entitled, is a widespread and deep-rooted problem that directly harms millions of U.S. workers each year.
The vast majority of American households’ income comes from what workers receive in their paychecks – which is why wages are so important. Unfortunately, policy decisions at the federal and state levels have left wages stagnant for most U.S. workers for decades. EARN groups advance policies that will raise wages for all workers.
EARN in the South is a cross-state initiative to develop a pragmatic, but aspirational agenda for improving economic conditions for working families in the South.
The State of Rural XX is an initiative to support EARN groups in creating state-level reports on the economic conditions in non-urban areas, in providing policy recommendations for state action to improve the prospects of working families in small towns and rural areas and in deliberately engaging in rural communities to develop and maintain supportive constituencies.
Detailed reports by EARN groups describing the economic conditions for working families in their state.