'Right-To-Work' Laws Could Pull Down Worker Wages By 3.1 Percent

Statewide "right-to-work" policies drive down worker wages for both union and nonunion members by 3.1 percent, finds a new report by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), a Washington, D.C. think tank.

That means full-time, year-round workers living in right-to-work states earn, on average, $1,558 less annually than similar workers in states without such regulations, according to the report.

EPI researchers used demographic, cost-of-living and labor market controls in calculating their findings.

"It's abundantly clear that right-to-work laws are negatively correlated with workers' wages," report co-author and EPI senior economist Elise Gould said in a statement. "Our model uses widely-agreed upon variables, and holds up under a series of tests to ensure that the model is sound and not being skewed by the inclusion or exclusion or particular variables or estimate technique."

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Rauner Budget Would Be 'Catastrophic' For Illinois Higher Ed System, Report Finds

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's budget proposal seeking to slash higher education spending by $387 million next fiscal year "would have direct and devastating effects on individual campuses" and students, according to a new report.

The report by Young Invincibles, a Millennial research and advocacy group, notes that Illinois has already cut higher education funding spent directly on students by $500 million over the past five years.

If approved, Rauner's plan to further reduce higher education spending by 31 percent in the 2016 fiscal year, beginning July 1, "would be catastrophic" for the state's higher education system and Illinois students who have "already been pushed past the breaking point by disinvestment in higher education," the report reads.

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Report: 2014 Wall Street Bonuses Were Double The Earnings Of 1 Million Low-Wage Workers

recent report from the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) reveals that Wall Street employees received $28.5 billion in combined bonuses last year.

That works out to be double the collective annual earnings of the more than one million full-time U.S. workers who made the federal minimum wage in 2014. At the national level, the hourly minimum wage is $7.25.

The $28.5 billion in bonuses was spread out among 167,800 Wall Street bank employees, according to the Washington, D.C.-based think tank.

"The size of the [2014 Wall Street] bonus pool was 27 percent higher than in 2009, the last time Congress increased the minimum wage," reads the report, "Off the Deep End: The Wall Street Bonus Pool and Low-Wage Workers."

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Report: Irregular Work Scheduling Affects 17 Percent Of U.S. Workers

Unstable work schedules impact at least 17 percent of the U.S. workforce, with low-wage workers facing irregular shift times the most.

That's according to a new report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), a Washington, D.C. think tank. The report, "Irregular Work Scheduling and its Consequences," is based on General Social Survey data.

Ten percent of U.S. workers have "irregular and on-call work shift times," combined with another 7 percent "who work split or rotating shifts," according to the research.

Low-wage workers are among the most prone to having unstable schedules, which are associated with longer average hourly workweeks in some occupations. Employees in low-wage industries often have little control over their schedules, the findings showed.

According to the report, irregular scheduling is most common in the following industries: retail trade; finance, insurance, real estate; business, repair services; personal services; entertainment, recreation; and agriculture.

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GOP Illinois Congressmen Get Poor Grades On National Poverty Scorecard

For yet another year, Republican Illinois congressmen mostly earned poor marks on the annual poverty scorecard issued by the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law.

In the 2014 national scorecard and accompanying report, Shriver Center staffers evaluated the voting record of nearly every U.S. senator and representative during the previous calendar year on legislation important to people living in poverty.

Scores were tabulated based on 20 votes taken in the House and seven in the Senate on legislation covering various topics including the budget, food and nutrition, health care, education and the workforce, to name a few.

The national poverty rate is 14.5 percent, with more than 45 million Americans living below the federal poverty level. At 14.7 percent, Illinois has the nation's 24th lowest poverty rate.

Although the Illinois Congressional Delegation as a whole averaged a "B" on poverty issues and earned the 16th best delegation ranking, the Shriver Center's report noted that Congress as a whole mostly failed to help poor Americans in 2014.

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