In the News

Remember when Walmart got panned for running a Thanksgiving food drive for its own employees—overlooking the irony of demonstrating noblesse oblige by asking customers to subsidize the workers the company itself impoverished? The retail giant took a more strategic approach last week when rolling out its latest do-gooder scheme: raising its base wage incrementally to $10 an hour.

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The fastest-growing occupation in the U.S. is also among the lowest paid.

The aging of America's baby boomers has led to a surge in demand for home care workers to look after the nation's elderly, as well as the disabled and chronically ill. The work is as essential as it is poorly paid. Home health aides do everything from checking a client's vital signs and administering medications to looking after people's dietary needs and even operating life-sustaining equipment, such as ventilators.

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Phil Ashburn started working at Western Electric in 1972 and stayed there for 30 years, even after the company split up. Eventually he ended up at a phone company called Pacific Bell. “It was a great company to work for. The company took care of you and you took care of the company,” he said.

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Walmart just gave half a million people a raise. Could you be next?

The retail giant announced on Thursday that it would increase the minimum pay for its workers to $10 an hour, affecting roughly a third of its 1.4 million employees. [...]

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By law, employers in the U.S. cannot make hiring decisions based on applicants' age, race, sex or religion. But what about their credit history?

A disturbing new report by the think tank Demos explains how companies across the country are using credit checks to vet potential employees. Researchers found that one in seven people with poor credit reported being told they wouldn't be hired for a job because of their financial history.

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Mayor Bill de Blasio's vision for the five boroughs is to move past the "tale of two cities," to create "a city where everyone has a shot at the middle class," he said during his State of the City address earlier this month.

But just who is part of New York City's middle class? It is not an exact science. Here's why. [...]

A City Council report from 2013, however, expanded the definition of middle class upward to a family earning roughly $200,000.

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Earlier this month, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced a historic deal with predatory for-profit Corinthian Colleges Inc., which will forgive nearly a half-billion dollars in private student loans that were taken by gullible teenagers to pay the schools’ absurdly hefty tuition — $60,000 to $75,000 a year for a bachelor’s degree.

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Salon
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After years of hardship, America’s middle class has gotten some positive news in the last few months. The country’s economic recovery is gaining steam, consumer spending is starting to tick up (it grew at more than 4 % last quarter), and even wages have started to improve slightly. This has understandably led some economists and analysts to conclude that the shrinking middle phenomenon is over. [...]

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Voting-rights advocates warned Thursday that they may sue California based on claims that the state is not complying with the so-called Motor Voter Act, a federal law mandating that states offer people an easy way to register to vote when they obtain their driver’s licenses.

The law firm of Morrison & Foerster sent a "pre-litigation" letter to California Secretary of State Alex Padilla on behalf of the League of Women Voters of California, the ACCE Institute, California Common Cause, the National Council of La Raza and several individuals. [...]

It’s been more than two decades since Congress passed the so-called Motor Voter Act requiring state DMVs to let residents register to vote at their offices — but the ACLU of California says the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles is falling asleep at the wheel, and it’s threatening to sue.

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