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Graph showing countries' minimum wage as percentage of their median wage. US is third worst out of more than 25 countries.
Here's absolutely nothing to brag about. If you look at minimum wage as a percentage of the median wage, the United States beats only Estonia and the Czech Republic on this list of more than 25 nations.

Now is the time to give America a raise. Sign our petition urging Congress to pass the Harkin-Miller bill and finally raise the minimum wage.

Continue reading below the fold for more of the week's labor and education news.

A fair day's wage

  • How your pizza delivery guy is getting stiffed this Super Bowl. Don't be part of the problem, please.
  • Is trouble coming to the Magic Kingdom? Union officials are predicting conflict over upcoming contract negotiations at Disney.
  • AP writers are on a byline strike as part of a fight for affordable health benefits.
  • Check out this recording of a telephone town hall on women's economic equality featuring Cynthia Nixon, Nancy Pelosi, and Rosa DeLauro.
  • Thursday was pregnant workers fairness day in New York City.
  • Paid sick leave is gaining ground quickly in the tri-state region of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Connecticut is, of course, the only state in the nation to have a sick leave law. New York City passed a sick leave bill after a protracted fight that hurt then-council Speaker Christine Quinn's chances of becoming mayor. Jersey City recently passed a sick leave law. And now, Newark:
    The law would ensure that workers in businesses with 10 or more employees, including food service, child care, and direct care workers, can earn an hour of paid sick leave for every 30 that they work, requiring employers to provide up to five paid days off a year. Those who work in smaller businesses could earn up to three days a year. The time off can be used to recover from a worker’s own illness, as well as to care for a sick family member. Proponents say that 38,000 workers currently don’t have access to paid sick leave in the city.
    As one city or state after another passes paid sick leave without being struck by the economic disaster that lobbyists for low-wage industries predict, it becomes easier for the next one to follow suit, especially when the examples are local and immediate. Organizing groups in the region, like the Working Families Party in New York and Connecticut and the New Jersey Working Families Alliance in that state, are also gaining strength and experience that may make each successive campaign more effective.
  • A historic first:
    Ramogi Huma, president of the National College Players Association, filed a petition in Chicago on behalf of football players at Northwestern University, submitting the form at the regional office of the National Labor Relations Board.

    Backed by the United Steelworkers union, Huma also filed union cards signed by an undisclosed number of Northwestern players with the NLRB -- the federal statutory body that recognizes groups that seek collective bargaining rights.

    The Steelworkers were ahead of the curve pushing for college athletes to be recognized as exploited workers, an idea that's gained currency over the past couple years. Quarterback Kain Colter emphasized that they don't feel particularly mistreated by Northwestern, but want to change the broader NCAA system. More background and context here.
  • Clearly the Minnesota Orchestra musicians were not locked out because they weren't good enough:
    The Minnesota Orchestra, which just ended a bitter 16-month lockout and plans to get back to business next month, won the Grammy Award for “best orchestral performance” on Sunday for a recording of Sibelius symphonies with its former music director, Osmo Vanska.
  • Being broke is not being poor. Important distinction.


  • Does tenure violate the civil rights of students?
  • Deion Sanders tries to draw a $125,000 salary from a charter school, because charters are smart public policy:
  • The tiers of inequality at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst don't end with the difference between tenure-track and adjunct faculty. Some adjuncts are excluded from the faculty union and paid less than others:
    Instructors with the university’s Continuing and Professional Education (CPE) unit—a parallel campus unit offering both online and in-person courses to traditional and nontraditional students—are aiming for “accretion,” a legal maneuver that would allow them to join the faculty union on campus and be covered under the same contract.

    The effort is being spearheaded by the Massachusetts Society of Professors (MSP), a Massachusetts Teachers Association-affiliated union that represents about 1,400 faculty members and librarians at UMass Amherst, including the majority of the university’s nearly 500 adjunct (non-tenure-track) professors. But many CPE instructors are currently excluded, with tangible effects: While the unionized adjunct instructors make a minimum of $6,400 per course and receive health benefits, non-union instructors at CPE make a minimum of only $3,200 per course and get no benefits.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Sat Feb 01, 2014 at 10:55 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Pelosi (3+ / 0-)

    Did anyone at the women's economic equality challenge Pelosi on her vote to cut SNAP?

  •  No Scandinavian countries (5+ / 0-)

    Seems odd none are on the chart.

    If a terrorist pollutes your water but creates jobs, is that ok?

    by Cecile on Sat Feb 01, 2014 at 11:08:34 AM PST

    •  Seems a bit strange to me , too (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fcvaguy, llywrch

      While us workers clearly need a much higher minimum wage, some of this chart does not correspond to my direct knowledge of low wage work in the Netherlands.  

      We have cousins there and for all of the great social programs in Holland, their wages & the job situation for young workers is not really that good.  Companies hire teenagers and pay them about $6 an hour which is a special "youth wage".  Once the kids hit, I think it's 19 years old, they are let go and a new kid takes their place.  They have a lot of temporary workers who are paid around $9 an hour.

      •  True about kid’s wages ... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BeninSC, slowbutsure

        ... but most of these kids are still at school. Keep in mind that minimum wage in The Netherlands starts from the age of 23. Below 23 there is a special minimum youth wage for kids age 15 to 23. It starts at $3.20, up to $9 an hour when they reach 22. From the age of 23 there is a minimum wage of $11. This will usually be the case for unskilled workers. Depending on experience, diploma’s and position this could (and almost always is) easily be a few hundred bucks more per month and climbing with a percentage each year. After taxes the Dutch –compared to the U.S- usually have more to spend because, for instance, cost of healthcare is way cheaper.

    •  Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DSPS owl, Eric Nelson

      ...don't have national minimum wage statutes. And until recently neither did Germany. However, the dominant Unions in most of their sectors set a standard for compensation that makes it very difficult for low wage employers to negatively influence wage rates.

      Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. --Martin Luther King Jr.

      by Egalitare on Sat Feb 01, 2014 at 12:04:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  that right there would make for a very good.. (0+ / 0-)

        ..talking point for union solidarity and reason to support them.

        Something that would put republicans at odds with their attacks on unions and their simultaneous attacks on minimum wage laws

        However, the dominant Unions in most of their sectors set a standard for compensation that makes it very difficult for low wage employers to negatively influence wage rates.
        Keep that, it's good messaging that works - imo

        "If you don't want minimum wage laws unions are the answer"

        And it forces the truth of their position to be known.

        If they bring up "free market forces" as the argument against both minimum wage laws and unions then what the republicans are left with is the truth that they are perfectly happy to have workers compete with non-union workers earning less than $2.00 dollars an hour (or less) in their push for an unregulated "free market" - global labor pool - off shoring etc.

        Their true agenda is exposed. What Red state blue collar worker is going to vote for a politician that would have him/her work for less and less when their wallets are empty (?) even if they can't stand President Obama or Dems.

  •  Either the vertical axis on that graph is wrong or (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the title at the top is wrong

    Is the US minimum wage really 0.38% of the median wage?

    The median wage in the US is about $17...  0.38% of that would be less than 10 cents.

  •  If it were to be $10.10 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I figure US would come in around .53 next to Australia, which is better company to be around.

    (I believe the .38 represents 38%, which gets the US median around $19.07, or close enough for gov't work.)

  •  We're #1 at saying we're #1 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NM Ray, BusyinCA

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Sat Feb 01, 2014 at 11:44:15 AM PST

    •  Just the Right wing nut jobs! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Thinking individuals, those who recognize the validity of science and statistics, realize that the USA is #1 in rates of incarceration, capital punishment and nothing else. We are near the bottom in education and almost every measure of quality of life except excessive wealth.

      We would be blessed if our leaders came forward with a public works program to build roads, bridges, infrastructure including airports and a neutral internet superior to any currently existing and available to all.

      But, I am a dreamer!

      My wife, daughter and granddaughters should have more privacy in their doctor's office than I have buying another rifle or shotgun.

      by NM Ray on Sat Feb 01, 2014 at 12:54:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well, that certainly explains this chart: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ishmaelbychoice, DSPS owl, BusyinCA

    “The Internet is the first thing that humanity has built that humanity doesn't understand, the largest experiment in anarchy that we have ever had.” ― Eric Schmidt

    by Pluto on Sat Feb 01, 2014 at 11:50:58 AM PST

  •  I'm feeling dumb today but ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Why doesn't this mean simply that an awful lot of people in some of these countries are making the minimum wage?  And why exactly is that a good thing?

    •  Well, (0+ / 0-)

      if everyone in say, France were making their minimum wage would you say that they were all poor?
      If the country is rich and making a go of it, it doesn't matter if their wealth is divided equally.  

      It matters a lot if it is UNequal.

      "Our problem is not that the glass is half empty or half full, but that the 1% claims that it is their glass." ---Stolen from a post on Daily Kos

      by jestbill on Sat Feb 01, 2014 at 01:34:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  That's one of the problems I have with that graph (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Note: I am for increasing the minimum wage to a livable level. I simply don't believe this graph presents a good argument.

      Saying that a given country's minimum wage doesn't really tell us anything useful about its wage breakdown. The percentage could be skewed by a few extremely-high wage figures -- or by a large number of low wages close to the median. And if the minimum wage in one country isn't enough to live on in that country (the current situation in the US), I'd rather see the median figure to be far above the minimum wage than close to it, & hope that this is due to the vast majority of working people being paid a living wage (which I'm told is not the situation).

      And then there's the situation where the minimum wage is greater than 100% of the median wage -- not a good situation for that country to be in.

      The Wikipedia article on median shows there's more to using this statistic than was done here.

      •  Yeah--but the median is better than the mean here. (0+ / 0-)

        Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics!

        Naive analysis would set the minimum wage at a certain percentage of the GDP per capita.  Same problem.

        Ought to be able to use the Gini coefficient some way...

        "Our problem is not that the glass is half empty or half full, but that the 1% claims that it is their glass." ---Stolen from a post on Daily Kos

        by jestbill on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 03:14:04 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I can agree with raising wages all day long.... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DSPS owl, llywrch, Calamity Jean

    ... but it won't come without a bloody floor fight, if it does come at all:

    1. The trans-national corporations that own this country and its politicians have been rigging this system to bring the labor force and other costs of production down to the level of their communist business partners for at least the last 25 years. As far as corporate America is concerned, there is no "loyalty" to anything this country has to offer except military protection and its tax laws that allow them to hide their profits offshore. Everything else - the people, natural resources, the heritage of the land - is an exploitable, disposable commodity.

    2. The politicians can come out of their burrows every 2 years and soft-peddle their positions when it's time for another election; they talk a big game about their empathy with the struggling middle class and the rest of their populist campaign talking points. But once in office, those campaign donors come calling and expect legislation to be bent to their advantage. The people who vote have no voice after the seat is filled; the corporation who funded the election is in the driver's seat.

    Until this is finally determined to be unlawful and contrary to the principles that guided the foundation of our country, it will only get worse.

  •  University of Florida wants secretary for $10 hr?? (0+ / 0-)

    University of Florida has a position advertised for a secretary at the rate of $10 hour.  Not only is this below the proposed $10.10 hour minimum wage - THEY PREFER A BACHELORS DEGREE!!!

  •  Maybe someone can explain (0+ / 0-)

    how Turkey, Portugal and Slovenia are at the top of that list?

    KOS: "Mocking partisans focusing on elections? Even less reason to be on Daily Kos."

    by fcvaguy on Sat Feb 01, 2014 at 02:39:09 PM PST

  •  Minimum wage as a percent of median wage (0+ / 0-)

    is a misleading statistic. A low number could mean that the median wage is relatively high. That's the case for the US. The US has the fourth highest median household income in terms of purchasing power.

    Turkey's median HH income is only about 25% of the US, so even though Turkey's min. wage/ median wage ratio is higher and tops the chart, it has far less to brag about than the US.

  •  Good for NZ but I thought they were right-wing (0+ / 0-)

    in some sense. Also the MW/median figures don't show the upward tilting at the very top that makes USA more extreme overall than even the nations in the same MW/median range.

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