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Recycling workers face serious hazards on the job. For long hours, they work with heavy equipment in dangerous situations and deal with an array of unsafe materials (needles, broken glass, etc) that should not be on the recycling line. As a result of these unsafe conditions, recycling workers face above-average injury rates and are sometimes even killed on the job. To ensure safe and dignified recycling jobs, municipal govern- ments must require rigorous health and safety standards in recycling contracts. This report explores the dangers recycling workers face and provides policy recommendations that municipal decision makers should follow to improve industry accountability and health and safety outcomes.
Environmental racism and the subsequent chronic exposure to air pollution has been identified as one of the biggest contributing factors to higher rates of severe illness and death from COVID-19 within Black, Latinx, and Indigenous communities. Fossil fuel plants are among the top emitters of pollutants that can cause or worsen respiratory problems and make people more susceptible to COVID-19. This report discusses how the fossil fuel industry contributes to adverse outcomes from COVID-19 within BIPOC communities and how COVID-19 relief packages have prioritized fossil fuel corporations at the expense of communities of color. In addition, it also discusses how the fossil fuel industry has been upheld by the U.S government and financial institutions, and proposes multiple solutions to these problems.
In California, Uber, Lyft, Instacart, DoorDash, and Postmates workers are all classified as employees under California law entitled to the same benefits and protections enjoyed by all California employees. However, these companies are funding a ballot initiative – Proposition 22 or the “Protect App-Based Drivers and Services Act”– that would grant app-based transportation and delivery companies a complete exemption from AB 5, freeing them from complying with California’s labor laws. Thus, their workers would be unprotected and companies would be allowed to avoid paying for overtime, discriminate on the basis of immigration status, deny workers health or income protections if they are hurt on the job, and prevent workers from accessing paid leave. This report urges voters to reject Proposition 22 to protect workers’ health, safety, and dignity.
Corporations and their political allies deploy state preemption to stop local progress and block the abilities of local governments to act on the values and needs of their communities. This report uses data from Colorado, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee to demonstrate how communities, particularly low-income women of color, are working towards equitable policies around paid sick days, wages, and affordable housing, only to be blocked at the state level by lawmakers caving to corporate pressure or following an anti-regulation agenda.
Citywide development that uses traditional business practices, which have historically benefitted from and perpetuated racialized inequality, can threaten to displace the most disadvantaged communities. This report provides tools and resources for groups that are advocating for more equitable, progressive development in their cities; these practices address the housing affordability crisis, displacement of long-term residents, low and stagnant wages, unemployment, persecution of immigrants, over-policing of communities of color, and a host of other issues affecting a city’s residents. Additionally, this report includes a checklist and guidelines for establishing and moving a successful coalition.
As the Puget Sound region invests billions in a new light rail system, large scale gentrification will occur along the Southeast Seattle light rail corridor without immediate policy action. Transit-oriented development (TOD) planning must implement a racial justice framework in order to tackle the threat of displacement by addressing the structural challenges that place low-income people and communities of color at higher risk of being forced out of their communities. This report critiques existing TOD tools that fall short of racial equity, and provides recommendations for Rainier Valley stakeholders that put racial justice at the center of TOD planning.
Through an examination of Amazon’s various platforms and services, this report reveals that for growing racist, Islamophobic, and anti-Semitic movements, the breadth of Amazon’s business combined with its weak and inadequately enforced policies provides numerous channels through which hate groups can generate revenue, propagate their ideas, and grow their movements. Particularly, Amazon enables the celebration of ideologies that promote hate and violence by allowing the sale of hate symbols and imagery on its site, and provides a platform for racists to spread hate ideologies through their publications; abuses of Amazon’s platforms are made possible by inadequate and poorly enforced policies. This report provides recommendations for how Amazon should prevent and take responsibility for their platforms’ misuse.
By introducing new systems for managing trash, cities can move toward zero waste and capture a range of worker, community, and environmental benefits. In particular, through implementing sustainable recycling programs, local governments can utilize trash management systems to fight climate change, create family-sustaining jobs, and support strong local economies and healthy communities. This report outlines the elements that create a sustainable recycling program and describes case studies in which its implementation has been beneficial.
The U.S. economy is headed towards greater inequality as middle-class jobs are becoming increasingly scarce, while low wage jobs are growing. This report details ten proposals to strengthen the economy for the long term by creating “good” jobs and addressing the economic insecurity that has spread to millions of U.S. families. Recommendations include fixing the minimum wage, stopping wage theft, and strengthening laws that protect workers’ safety and health.
Though California has enacted numerous laws that help workers recover stolen wages, access paid leave from work, and enforce safe and humane working conditions, such legislation fails to deliver economic security to working Californians unless accompanied by strong enforcement mechanisms. In response to the lack of enforcement power, California enacted the Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”) in 2003 to reduce noncompliance with the state’s labor laws and prevent unlawful and anti-competitive business practices. This brief explores how PAGA positively impacts California’s workforce through enhancing Labor Code compliance among employers, building enforcement capacity among state agencies, and ensuring that violations of the law have a legitimate remedy.