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Home Care Workers Demand Gov. Brown Keep His Promise of Overtime Pay

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In-home care workers, union members, and seniors rallied outside the State building in downtown Oakland on Wednesday chanting, “Overtime is overdue,” demanding that Gov. Jerry Brown keep his promise of overtime pay for workers who provide in-home support to their clients.

The Oakland action was part of statewide events that took place this week from Sacramento to Santa Barbara and San Diego, highlighting the work that in-home workers provide to the elderly and people with disabilities.

In the 2014-15 state budget, Gov. Brown agreed to implement new federal rules that placed in-home care workers under the Federal Labor Standards Act, which translates to overtime pay after a 40-hour workweek. The new rules were to go into effect by January.

However, those rules have not been enacted, with the administration citing a “legal challenge from out-of-state, for-profit home care agencies.” According to a statement from unions representing home care workers, the federal ruling does not prevent the administration from implementing overtime rates.

“It’s time California moves forward and ends the second-class status of caregivers by fulfilling its promise for equal- ity and for protection of all workers,” said David Werlin, speaking at the rally. Werlin is Director of Member Strength for Northern California of the SEIU-ULTCW union that represents 180,000 home care workers in California.

“Our work is not visible, but it’s absolutely vital to the well-being of our clients,” said Virginia Duran, a home care provider in San Jose.

Home care provider Virginia Duran.

Home care provider Virginia Duran.

Over the past 18 months, Duran has cared for her 88-year-old mother who has gone through multiple surgeries in the past year. Duran told the Post she is paid for just 53 hours a month, but she often works around-the-clock to assist her mother who has limited mobility – having had surgery on both her knees and shoulder – and is on a restricted diet.

“Our clients count on us,” said home care provider Paula Saulsby from San Francisco County.

“To deny basic protections like overtime to homecare providers is wrong. It not only hurts workers like me, but it hurts the elderly and the disabled who depend on us, and it hurts millions of families that will count on us in the future,” she said.

“Every hour of our work is critical to our clients, and its time that Brown recognize that and treat us with the dignity and respect that we deserve,” Saulsby said.

Hundreds of workers also filed wage theft claims this week across the state to demonstrate their need for basic protections under labor laws.

On Tuesday, Feb. 24, Bay Area workers will take their message to Sacramento. They will load buses at 6 a.m. to rally at the Capitol and demand that Gov. Brown keep his promise.

For more information, call Ken Chambers at (510) 701-1588. For Spanish speakers, call (510) 701-3219; for Chinese speakers, call (510) 326- 2767.

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Bay Area

Among Less-Educated Young Workers, Women and Black Men Are Paid Far Less

According to Byeongdon Oh, a postdoctoral researcher in the campus’ Social Sciences D-Lab, the pay disparity between Asian and white men on one side and Black men on the other may actually be worse than the data suggest. A disproportionate number of young men who did not go to college are Black. A disproportionate number of young Black men have been incarcerated, he explained, and incarcerated men were not tracked in the survey data.

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A new study co-authored at UC Berkeley finds that women of all races, as well as Black men, who have not attended college are paid dramatically less than Asian American and white men at similar education levels. (Photo by the U.S. Department of Agriculture)
A new study co-authored at UC Berkeley finds that women of all races, as well as Black men, who have not attended college are paid dramatically less than Asian American and white men at similar education levels. (Photo by the U.S. Department of Agriculture)

By Edward Lempinen | UC Berkeley News

Less-educated U.S. workers often face a lifetime of financial challenges, but some among them are more disadvantaged than others: Young Asian and white men without college education are paid more — sometimes far more — than both Black men and women of all racial groups, according to a new study co-authored at UC Berkeley.

The study led by Byeongdon Oh, a postdoctoral researcher in the campus’ Social Sciences D-Lab, found that young Black men with no college education earn barely half of what their Asian American and white counterparts make. Latinx, Asian and Black women lag even further.

“Earnings are an important factor to study because they’re related to other outcomes, like health, engagement with the criminal justice system and family development,” Oh said. “So, we focus on the non-college population at an early age. They are already disadvantaged economically — they have very low earnings. If there’s a sizable racial or ethnic earnings disparity in this population, there may be severe consequences.”

The study, “Inequality among the Disadvantaged? Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Earnings among Young Men and Women without a College Education,” was released Dec. 21, 2022, in the journal Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, published by the American Sociological Association. It provides the first detailed look at the earnings of young adults with no college experience as their working lives take shape.

In recent years, about one-third of young Americans have stopped their education after high school. That projects to roughly 1 million less-educated young people every year entering a job market that increasingly requires advanced education and training to earn even a middle-class salary. LatinX and Black people are over-represented in this group.

To understand their experience, Oh and colleagues Daniel Mackin Freeman and Dara Shifrer from Portland State University studied data from the High School Longitudinal Study of 2009, tracing racial and ethnic earnings disparities among men and women who had never attended college. In 2016, they were in their early 20s.

“Striking” was the word the authors used to describe the earnings gaps revealed in the core data:

  • Young Asian American men with no college education earned an average of $24,837 in 2016, followed by white men at $22,056 and Latinx men at $17,984. Young Black men averaged just $12,573 — barely half the wages earned by Asian Americans and whites.
  • A similar, but less severe, disparity was evident among young women with no college experience. White women on average earned $14,766, followed by Latinx women at $12,465, Asian American women at $10,935 and Black women at $10,871.
  • The gap between these women and men was vast, with young Black women on average earning only 44 cents for every dollar earned by Asian American men with similar levels of education.

Exploring the impact of race and gender discrimination

How to explain these racial and gender gaps in earning?

Oh said the data did not allow the researchers to determine the causes. They did find, however, that a range of possible factors — from family background and home location to high school grades and criminal records — rarely account for the earnings gaps.

But, he explained, racial discrimination in the workforce cannot be ruled out as the cause.

Oh suggested that complex social and economic factors may sort people of color into lower-paying job sectors, but the estimated earnings gaps among groups of people in the same occupation are still dramatic. These earning disparities, he said, may reflect employer bias against women and Black men.

The findings “suggest that, like their more educated counterparts, young non-college-educated women may face pernicious earnings discrimination in the labor market, regardless of their race/ethnicity,” the authors wrote.

They added: “The results may indicate that employers devalue the work of young Black men without a college education to a greater degree than they do the work of white, Latinx, and Asian men without a college education.”

According to Oh, the pay disparity between Asian and white men on one side and Black men on the other may actually be worse than the data suggest. A disproportionate number of young men who did not go to college are Black. A disproportionate number of young Black men have been incarcerated, he explained, and incarcerated men were not tracked in the survey data.

“And so, our findings on the earnings gap are conservative — it may be larger,” he said.

The new study opens up a range of new questions for Oh and other researchers. Understanding the experience of the young workers would require more targeted surveys and in-person interviews. Those would allow the researchers to understand whether discrimination is to blame, and if so, how it works, Oh said.

“I hope the contribution of our research is to make people ask why we have these striking earnings gaps,” he said. “Then, rather than wasting time blaming workers’ choices or attitudes, we might get further by identifying discriminatory labor market processes.”

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Activism

CA Reparations Task Force LA Meeting’s Public Comments Get Heated

“Reparations are designed to repair and heal the damages done to Africans for 400 years who [suffered] through Jim Crow [laws],” California Secretary of State Shirley Weber who authored the task force legislation, Assembly Bill (AB) 3121 in 2020 while serving in the Assembly, said last January. “Reparations are for those who are descendants of slavery. Their ties are permanently severed from their homeland and their ability to return to Africa is almost impossible. We are truly Americans.”

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Antonio‌ ‌Ray‌ ‌Harvey‌ ‌|‌ ‌California‌ ‌Black‌ ‌Media‌

LOS ANGELES – The nine member California Task Force to Study and Develop Reparations Proposals for African Americans convened in Los Angeles at the California Science Center for its tenth meeting on Sept. 23 and Sept. 24.

The meeting opened with comments from the public with speakers passionately delivering their views on what reparations should look like.

Many focused their comments and opinions on who should and should not receive reparations. The opposing views created tension among those in the audience on an issue that the task force resolved months ago.

“I think it’s a good thing. We have a lot of passion in our community and reparations speak to the core of what makes Black Americans. I wouldn’t expect any less,” said Chad Brown, a member of the National Assembly of American Slavery Descendants (NAASDLA) and Coalition of a Just and Equitable California (CJEC).

“This is the process. I expect a lot of passion. It’s passion directed at finding solutions,” Brown told California Black Media.

The temperature in the room rose when Kevin Cosney, associate director of the California Black Power Network (CBPN), addressed the task force members and said that a majority of the members made a “problematic” decision in excluding people such as Africans enslaved in the Caribbean, Native Americans, and persons from the continent of Africa.

“We encourage this task force to be transparent, bold, gracious, expansive, and unified in its work of diverse opinions,” Cosney told the task force. “The fact that you prematurely rushed on eligibility is problematic and disrespects the community’s voice. We would like you to reconsider and take this into account.”

Cosney’s CBPN and Brown’s CJEC are two of seven “anchor organizations,” selected across the state to host “community listening sessions” in conjunction with the task force.

The nonprofit California Black Power Network describes itself as a “growing, united ecosystem of Black empowering grassroots organizations” collaboration to change the lived conditions of Black Californians “by dismantling systemic and anti-Black racism.”

CJEC is a state-wide coalition of organizations, associations, and community members united for reparations for the descendants of enslaved Black American men and women.

California Secretary of State Shirley Weber who authored the task force legislation, Assembly Bill (AB) 3121 in 2020 while serving in the Assembly, has taken the position that compensation should be limited to African Americans who are descendants of Africans enslaved in the United States.

“Reparations are designed to repair and heal the damages done to Africans for 400 years who [suffered] through Jim Crow [laws],” Weber said last January. “Reparations are for those who are descendants of slavery. Their ties are permanently severed from their homeland and their ability to return to Africa is almost impossible. We are truly Americans.”

Last March the task force voted 5-4 that lineage will determine who will be eligible for reparations over race.

Task Force chairperson Kamilah Moore, vice-chair Amos Brown, pastor of Third Baptist Church in San Francisco, and president of his local NAACP branch; University of California-Berkeley professor Jovan Scott Lewis; San Diego City Councilwoman Monica Montgomery-Steppe, and Sen. Steven Bradford (D-Gardena) voted in approval of lineage.

Eligibility is determined by an individual being African American, “the descendant of a [person enslaved as chattel] or the descendant of a free-Black person living in the United States prior to the end of the 19th century,” Moore said.

Attorney Don Tamaki, Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D-Los Angeles), Los Angeles-based attorney Lisa Holder, and Loyola-Marymount professor Cheryl Grills, voted in favor of race.

AB 3121 established the task force with a “special consideration” of those who are descendants of persons enslaved in the United States. Starting with the Atlantic Slave Trade, chattel slavery was sanctioned in the U.S. from 1619 to 1865.

“We agree that there should be special consideration for those that trace their lineage back to Slavery,” Cosney said. “But we also know and understand that the system of white supremacy affects everyone who is Black on this planet and in this country.”

Members from CJEC and CBPN moved their heated discussion outside of the facility after making their comments. But, the conversations cooled off with smiles and gestures of mutual respect for opinions.

Brown said the eligibility issue is settled but he is not at odds with debating the merits of the decision of the task force. He “stands on” the fact that Black families were impacted by slavery and “those families, descendants, are owed reparations.”

“Reparations are not something that is a cure. It is not something meant to change the minds of people,” Brown said. “Reparations are meant to repair a special community that has been impacted by slavery, Jim Crow, convict leasing, mass incarcerations, and the throughline of slave ships and chains.”

The next Task Force in-person meeting is scheduled for Oakland in December 2022 followed by San Diego in January 2023 and Sacramento in February 2023.

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Activism

California Cities are Pilot Testing Guaranteed Basic Income Programs

“The course of this pandemic has revealed the large number of County residents who are living on the brink of the financial crisis, with insufficient savings to weather a job loss, a medical emergency, or a major car repair. This guaranteed income program will help give residents the breathing room they need to better weather those crises,” said Supervisor Sheila Kuehl.

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These programs, including LA County’s Breathe program, are modeled after a universal basic income program that was tested in the city of Stockton. The Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration (SEED) provided $500 to 125 low-income residents for 24 months.
These programs, including LA County’s Breathe program, are modeled after a universal basic income program that was tested in the city of Stockton. The Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration (SEED) provided $500 to 125 low-income residents for 24 months.

Manny Otiko | California Black Media

Guaranteed basic income isn’t a new idea. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr talked about the idea of low-income people receiving regular checks from the government in the 1960s. It was brought up again during the 2020 presidential campaign when Democratic candidate Andrew Yang, a technology entrepreneur, made it a major part of his platform.

However, Yang was advocating for Universal Basic Income (UBI), which guarantees payments to everyone.

Guaranteed basic income only targets low-income people.

According to Yang, some kind of guaranteed basic income program is going to be necessary for the future when technology makes many jobs obsolete. A 2020 World Economic Forum study predicted that technologies such as artificial intelligence and robotics would eliminate 85 million jobs by 2025. However, guaranteed basic income programs are gaining steam across California as poverty alleviation. Several cities are carrying out pilot programs.

Los Angeles County is conducting a guaranteed basic income pilot program called Breathe. The program provides $1,000 to 1,000 LA County residents over a three-year period. The program will be evaluated by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Guaranteed Income Research.

Breathe is overseen by the county’s Poverty Alleviation Initiative. 180,000 residents applied to take part in the program. On a single day during the process, 95,000 people submitted applications, according to a county press release.

To qualify for Breathe funds, the applicants had to be at least 18 years old, have a single-person household income under $56,000 or $96,000 for a family of four, and have experienced negative impacts due to COVID-19.

One motivation behind the Breathe program was the COVID-19 pandemic, which laid bare the problems of poverty and income inequality.

“The course of this pandemic has revealed the large number of County residents who are living on the brink of the financial crisis, with insufficient savings to weather a job loss, a medical emergency, or a major car repair. This guaranteed income program will help give residents the breathing room they need to better weather those crises,” said Supervisor Sheila Kuehl.

Other guaranteed basic income programs are being pilot-tested in California.

Miracle Messages, an outreach program for the unhoused in San Francisco, started to pilot test a program called Miracle Money last year. Miracle Money provided $500 to homeless people. And the initial program seemed to be a success. According to Miracle Messages, about 50% of the people in the test group were able to find housing after they received the cash payments. Miracle Money was funded by a GoFundMe campaign.

Oakland Resilient Families is a Bay Area program that provides a $500 grant to families for 18 months. The program stresses it is different from universal basic income. “Guaranteed income is meant to provide an income floor but not meant to be a replacement for wages. Guaranteed income can also be targeted to those who need it most,” according to the organization’s website. Oakland Resilient Families is funded by donations.

Mountain View, another Bay Area city is setting up a new guaranteed basic income pilot program called Elevate MV. The pilot program promises to give, for two years, $500 a month to 166 low-income families with at least one child or who are currently pregnant. Elevate MV is operated through the Community Services Agency, a non-profit organization.

In San Diego County a guaranteed income pilot program was launched in March 2020. One hundred and fifty households with young children residing in one of the four priority ZIP codes in the county — Encanto, Paradise Hills, National City and San Ysidro — are receiving $500 a month for two years. The $2.9 million program is run by Jewish Family Service of San Diego with funding from Alliance Healthcare Foundation and from the state’s budget surplus.

These programs, including LA County’s Breathe program, are modeled after a universal basic income program that was tested in the city of Stockton. The Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration (SEED) provided $500 to 125 low-income residents for 24 months.

The research showed that the SEED program worked, according to a National Public Radio (NPR) article.

“Among the key findings outlined in a 25-page white paper are that the unconditional cash reduced the month-to-month income fluctuations that households face, increased recipients’ full-time employment by 12 percentage points, and decreased their measurable feelings of anxiety and depression, compared with their control-group counterparts,” said NPR.

Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs launched the SEED program in 2019. Following the promising results of the pilot program, in 2020 Tubbs launched Mayors for Guaranteed Income, a coalition of 60 mayors who are advocating for a guaranteed income program to ensure that all Americans have an income floor.

Tubbs lost his bid for re-election in 2020 and is now an adviser to Gov. Gavin Newsom who is a proponent of guaranteed income.

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