Pathways to Success: The Need for Better Training for Retail Workers

Over the past two years, the Center for Frontline Retail identified training and career advancement as an unmet need for retail workers in New York City.

This prompted CFR to partner with the Community Development Project at the Urban Justice Center (CDP) on a participatory research project, collecting 292 surveys, holding three focus groups, and conducting a literature review in order to explore the training and advancement barriers and opportunities for workers.

The report, Pathways to Success, shows that while career ladders exist in retail, workers have trouble climbing those ladders and are expected to take on additional responsibilities without a change in title, pay or additional training. Expanding access to quality training is a key mechanism to increase longevity, de-segregate the workforce, and build a career ladder for retail workers.

Expanding Food Benefits for Immigrants

The United States has many social benefit programs that help people avoid hunger.  Not everyone, however, has access to these food safety net programs and many are unaware of their eligibility or face obstacles in enrolling.

Expanding Food Benefits for Immigrants by Anabel Perez-Jimenez and Nicholas Freudenberg, CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute explored the eligibility of various categories of New York City’s immigrant populations, from those who have become citizens to permanent residents to those who lack legal immigration status, for the nation’s main food benefit programs.

The goal is to widen a public conversation among immigrants and their organizations, food security groups, food justice advocates and policy makers about identifying policies and practices that will make New York City a national model for immigrant access to food benefits.

Shining a Light on Domestic Employers

The recent report, My Home is Someone’s Workplace: Re-envisioning Domestic Employment in New York State, by Hand in Hand was a first-of-its-kind, in-depth look at the demographics, needs, and challenges of New Yorkers who employ someone in their home.

It highlighted the need for employers to have clearer guidelines on how to be a fair employer.

Hand in Hand hopes to build on this research to explore how to organize employers of domestic workers to take action on policies and legislation to create a mutually beneficial domestic workplace.

Milk Cows Not Workers!

New York’s dairy production and processing industry generates $14 billion a year and is the star sector of the state’s agricultural economy.

Unfortunately, the immigrant workers who provide milking labor on which the industry heavily depends are themselves being “milked.”

The study, Milked: Immigrant Dairy Farmworkers in New York State, is based upon a face-to-face survey with 88 workers across 53 different farms located in the Central, Northern, and Western regions of New York State.

Nine out of ten workers surveyed believe that their employers care more about the cows than about workers’ well-being.

Construction Jobs Lack Basic Provisions in $175 Billion Industry

As cities in the south continue to boom, workers earn poverty level wages and face dangerous working conditions.

Build a Better South report highlights issues plaguing the construction industry in the South, including wage theft, low wages and safety concerns.

The study was a collaboration of the University of Illinois at Chicago, the Workers Defense Project and Partnership for Working Families

Utility Rights and Energy Security

Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson is a grassroots organization empowering the low-income population of Poughkeepsie, NY to keep their lights on.

Approximately, 295,797 New York residential customers had their utility service disconnected for non-payment in 2014-2015. In the first 14 months of its utility justice work, Nobody Leaves prevented or reversed shut-offs for 48 households through legal rights education and intervention.

Working in accordance with the New York Home Energy Fair Practices Act (HEFPA) and existing legal frameworks, Nobody Leaves has successfully brought voices of underserved community members to public forums.JUST UTILITIES: ORGANIZING FOR SOLUTIONS TO THE HOUSEHOLD ENERGY CRISIS

Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson recently published their full report Just Utilities: Organizing for Solutions to the Household Energy Crisis. This report analyzes the factors contributing to energy insecurity and proposes corresponding policy changes.

You can read their full report here and follow their story on Facebook and Twitter.


Integrating the Undocumented Community

Driver's LicenseA Qualitative Exploration of the Process for Obtaining DC’s Limited Purpose Driver’s License

In January of 2015, Center for Social Justice (CSJ) and community partners, Central American Resource Center and Trabajadores Unidos de Washington, DC, were awarded a grant by the Sociological Initiatives Foundation to research the experiences of undocumented immigrants as they apply for Washington DC’s new Limited Purpose driver’s license, a license for undocumented immigrants.

Read the full report here.


“Stay with your words”: Indigenous youth, local policy, and the work of language fortification

Elizabeth Sumida Huaman, Nathan D. Martin of Arizona State University, and Carnell T. Chosa, of the Leadership Institute of the Santa Fe Indian School recently published  “Stay With Your Words”: Indigenous Youth, Local Policy, and the Work of Language Fortification.

The article focuses on the work of cultural and language maintenance and fortification with Indigenous youth populations. Here, the idea of work represents two strands of thought: first, research that is partnered with Indigenous youth-serving institutions and that prioritizes Indigenous youth perspectives; and second, the work of cultural and linguistic engagement that is often taken for granted as part of the sociocultural fabric of Indigenous communities where youth are active participants.

Behind the Kitchen Door: Extreme Inequality and Opportunity in Houston’s Vibrant Restaurant Economy

Restaurant Opportunities Center of Houston’s latest report is the most comprehensive examination to date of the Houston-area restaurant industry.

Behind the Kitchen Door offers a vivid picture of the state of the industry and makes recommendations to improve Houston’s economic development, public health and workplace conditions for the city’s restaurant workers.

Houston is America’s fastest-growing city and its vibrant restaurant industry has been called the “most dynamic and diverse food and drink scene in the nation.” However, research indicates that the restaurant workers whose labor makes Houston’s growth possible are being left behind. The majority of restaurant jobs in Houston remain low-road jobs defined by low wages, few benefits, and poor working conditions.

Stolen Chances: Low-Wage Work and Wage Theft in Iowa

Despite three years of heightened attention — from our work, from media reports, and from some policymakers — wage theft remains persistent in Iowa,” said Colin Gordon, author of a new report for the nonpartisan Iowa Policy Project.

The report collected new data on wage complaints, based in part on a survey of low-wage workers conducted by the Center for Worker Justice of Eastern Iowa, and it places Iowa’s wage theft crisis against a broad backdrop of low-wage and precarious employment.

This report shows we still need better laws, better enforcement, and greater awareness on the part of employees, employers and all policy makers.