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Economic Justice (Research)

Phillipine Domestic Worker Rights. A primer on ILO CONVENTION No. 189

The Philippine Migrants Rights Watch (PMRW), with the support of the International Labour Organization’s ASEAN TRIANGLE project, has developed this educational booklet on Convention 189 on Decent Work for Domestic Workers and RA 10361 otherwise known as Batas Kasambahay or Domestic Workers Law.

Often performed by family members, particularly women, domestic work is neither recognized as a formal component of the economy nor properly compensated. When done by hired labour, it is often not included in the labour laws of the country. Therefore, domestic workers do not enjoy the full protection of labour laws and they are often underpaid and asked to work extra time.

Gamaliel Report Shows Community Organizing Added $21 Billion To GDP


Gamaliel A new report, Community Organizing As Job Creator: An Investment That Works For All, is the first ever using economic theory and government formulas to evaluate community organizing and its effectiveness as jobs creator and economic stimulus. It details five organizing case studies and lists 44 successful community campaigns, including organizing in Missouri and Hawaii that led to substantially more jobs for minorities and a dramatic drop in home foreclosures. Over the last five years, Gamaliel’s network of 60 affiliates has delivered hundreds of thousands of jobs through ballot initiatives, legislation for increased funding of state and city transit, workforce training programs, increased education funding and state budget reforms.

Millennials, Activism and Race

millennials1By Dominique Apollan, Ph.D.

Through a series of focus groups in key cities with Occupy participants and other activists aged 18-30, the Applied Research Center today released findings on young people’s motivations for engaging in activism, concerns about electoral politics, and thoughts on the extent to which race and racism should be an explicit part of current struggles for economic justice. The report also provides recommendations on key ways to engage millennials of all races/ethnicities in social justice work. An accompanying article on young progressives was published by ARC President and Colorlines Publisher Rinku Sen, and an informational webinar will be presented to coincide with the release. "From a researcher's perspective, it was a dream to hear from some of the most engaged progressive young people in the country," said report author and ARC Research Director Dominique Apollon. "And to provide a forum for them to express themselves freely, in ways that we hope readers of all ages and races will appreciate." In ARC’s report Millennials, Activism and Race, results show that the most significant influence for young progressives to engage in social justice work is their own personal and family experience, particularly for young people of color. In discussing what makes an ideal society, there were varied descriptions, but all agreed that it is one based on community and cooperation -- and that primary barriers include: (1) a dominant ideology based on individualism (especially economic), which too often causes people to be left to fend for themselves, without sufficient public resources and supports, and (2) a general lack of awareness of histories of oppression with political and economic analyses, that the general public doesn't have an analytic framework to critique our political and economic system. Additionally, Occupy protesters were more explicitly anti-capitalism, and more profoundly disillusioned by the electoral process than social justice advocates who had not participated in the Occupy movement.

Putting the Pieces Together: People Powered Solutions for Neighborhood Jobs & Local Economy


Putting the Pieces Together PDF

We are excited to release our People Powered Solutions for Neighborhood Jobs & the Local Economy.  Based on in-depth, face-to-face conversations and planning sessions in Spanish, Tagalog, Cantonese, and English with over 220 District 11 residents and stakeholders, our results provide honest and powerful narratives of individuals, families, and communities' daily struggle to find work, raise families, and survive in District 11. Four prominent themes emerged from the voices of youth, elders, women and men talking and planning together: the chronic abuse of workers' rights and lack of workers rights education and advocacy; the lack of opportunities to build economic assets, including cooperatively owned assets; the need for culturally competent employment services and resources within the geographic boundaries of District 11; the need for public policy reforms to expand local job opportunities. Everyday youth, adults, and elders in our communities have the skills and talents to build a strong, local economy; what they lack is the investment and resources to make their dreams happen. The recommendations in our People Powered Solutions point the ways to new models, economic alternatives, and long lasting changes.

The 2012–13 Budget: Unwinding Redevelopment

unwindingOn February 1, 2012, all redevelopment agencies in California were dissolved and the process for unwinding their financial affairs began. Given the scope of these agencies' funds, assets, and financial obligations, the unwinding process will take time. Prior to their dissolution, redevelopment agencies (RDAs) received over $5 billion in property tax revenues annually and had tens of billions of dollars of outstanding bonds, contracts, and loans. This report reviews the history of RDAs, the events that led to their dissolution, and the process communities are using to resolve their financial obligations. Over time, as these obligations are paid off, schools and other local agencies will receive the property tax revenues formerly distributed to RDAs. The report discusses these major findings: Although ending redevelopment was not the Legislature's objective, the state had few practical alternatives. Ending redevelopment changes the distribution of property tax revenues among local agencies, but not the amount of tax revenues raised. Decisions about redevelopment replacement programs merit careful review. The decentralized process for unwinding redevelopment promotes a needed local debate over the use of the property tax. Key state and local choices will drive the state fiscal effect. The report recommends the Legislature amend the redevelopment dissolution legislation to address timing issues, clarify the treatment of pass–through payments, and address key concerns of redevelopment bond investors.

Wage Theft: How Millions of Dollars are Stolen from Florida’s Workforce



This is the second in a series of reports monitoring the growing problem of wage theft in Florida. Using previously unanalyzed data from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division and separate data from various community organizations, this report shows evidence of a widespread problem across a broad spectrum of industries in Florida. The industries especially impacted are those commonly thought of as the core of Florida’s economy—tourism, retail trade, and construction. Moreover, it appears more likely to affect those workers who can least afford it. Workers who receive low wages seem to be more likely to have their wages stolen by employers and as demonstrated in this report this is a large number ofpeople. But, even this data does not account for the full magnitude of the problem, as an unknown number of cases go unreported. Indeed, as data on wage theft accumulates, the more it becomes clear how widespread wage theft is in the state of Florida and throughout the state’s industries. Wage theft is defined as workers not receiving wages that they are legally owed. It occurs in different forms including unpaid overtime, not being paid at least the minimum wage, working during meal breaks, misclassification of employees as independent contractors, forcing employees to work off the clock, altering time cards or pay stubs, illegally deducting money from employees’ pay checks, paying employees late, or simply not paying employees at all. Unfortunately, many employers know they can get away with wage theft and have little fear of sanction. Enforcement mechanisms are weak, due to lack of dedicated enforcement capacity at the state level, limited capacity of local branches of the Federal Department of Labor, and the gaps in U.S. labor laws that leave many employees unprotected.The report finds that many of Florida’s workforce fall outside of federal labor laws; thus, other enforcement mechanisms such as Miami Dade’s Wage Theft Ordinance are needed to ensure that employees, communities, and local governments will not miss out on millions of stolen wages that are owed to them, and that unscrupulous employers will be penalized for breaking labor laws.The report estimates that nearly 60-90 million dollars are stolen from Florida’s workforce, impacting communities, law abiding employers and local and state economies. The release of the report comes at a time when the Florida legislature is debating a House and Senate bill that would eliminate the Miami-Dade Wage Theft Ordinance, which has collected nearly $400,000 in stolen wages from employees–and preempt any other local governments trying to find solutions to wage theft in their communities.

Fostering Equitable Foreclosure Recovery


Policy Liink - Foreclosures

The foreclosure crisis, which began in 2006 and is ongoing, has left few communities untouched and has been particularly devastating for low-income communities and communities of color. By the time the crisis abates, 10 million homeowners will have lost their homes to foreclosure. Many of them will lose their standing in the middle class and suffer tremendous economic and personal losses. But the crisis does not only affect those who undergo foreclosures themselves. Foreclosures also affect neighborhoods, dragging down the prices of nearby homes, dampening the housing market, and draining cash- strapped municipalities of precious resources. In many hard-hit neighborhoods, another destabilizing force is the wave of investors who swept in and bought much of the distressed property stock. Foreclosures also affect the economy, since strong neighborhoods are integral to the economic health of the regions in which they are located. In the face of the crisis, communities and consumer advocacy organizations have organized around a range of strategies at a variety of scales and points in the foreclosure cycle, including preventing further foreclosures, protecting tenants living in foreclosed homes, holding banks accountable, and reclaiming foreclosed properties for community benefit. They also have taken action to reform the broader financial system that created and perpetuated the crisis.

Their advocacy helped shape the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, created in July 2010 to write and enforce new, transparent standards for mortgages and other financial products. At a time when federal programs are on the chopping block, these organizations have fought against cuts to critical homeownership counseling and foreclosure recovery programs.

While these efforts have been important, too few people have been engaged in this policy debate. All residents have a stake in how their communities recover from the foreclosure crisis, and all should be involved in the search for solutions. Those working to reduce poverty and increase economic and social inclusion, in particular, should contribute their voices to the ongoing discussions and needed reforms.
This report provides essential information to inform policy discussions about foreclosure recovery.


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