Inequality. You’re probably hearing this word everywhere, and rightly so. In the U.S. today, the top one percent own about 38 percent of the financial wealth in America. The bottom 60 percent own 2.3 percent. So what are some of the forces shrinking the middle class?
A new report by the National Employment Law Project (NELP) finds that outsourcing is one of the central factors driving down wages and working conditions in the post-recession economy. The practice allows public and private employers to evade labor laws, avoid payroll taxes, push costs onto workers and shirk their responsibility to provide basic benefits. It also leaves workers in an ambiguous legal status with no clear path to hold their employers accountable for abuses like stolen wages.
The report, “Who’s the Boss: Restoring Accountability for Labor Standards in Outsourced Work,” shows that outsourcing is a shell game for employers trying to avoid accountability,
We’re excited to announce the creation of In The Public Interest’s ITPI Scholars Network as the next step in our growth and expanding influence on the issues of privatization and outsourcing of public services and assets across the country.
The ITPI Scholars Network brings together academics who are experts in diverse fields that relate to government privatization and outsourcing as well as responsible contracting.
Three members of the ITPI Scholars Network have recently released or are close to releasing studies that have found that careless outsourcing can harm communities, taxpayers and vulnerable residents:
• Dr. Daphne Greenwood of the University of Colorado released her new study The Decision to Contract Out: Understanding the Full Economic and Social Impacts. She found that reductions in contracted wages and benefits leads to a host of negative effects for the community at large; these harms include declining retail sales,
Skopje, Macedonia might seem a long way from Los Angeles, but for the 2,000 professional musicians who earn their living recording the film scores for Hollywood’s big movie studios, the Balkan capital — and the bleak future for L.A. movie musicians that it might represent — seems to be getting closer every day.
In at least one way, that future has already arrived in the form of Lionsgate’s Draft Day and the Ivan Reitman film’s nonunion score. Starring Kevin Costner, the movie tells an all-American story of a fictionalized general manager of the lowly Cleveland Browns and his efforts to save Cleveland football on NFL draft day by trading for the number one player pick.
Less all-American is the story behind the recording of Draft Day’s music, which was reportedly piped via the Internet to a Hollywood studio and the film’s composer, John Debney,
Lawmakers in Iowa, Maryland Oregon and Washington advanced legislation to rein in reckless outsourcing of public services to for-profit corporations and private entities. Meanwhile, Minnesota is the latest state to introduce legislation that would keep taxpayers in control of their services by increasing transparency and accountability, bringing the total number of states to 16. And locally, Douglass County, Kansas, passed some of the toughest taxpayer protections against predatory outsourcing in the nation.
“American taxpayers are tired of getting ripped off by corporations that take control of public services and rake in massive profits by cutting corners to public health and safety,” said Donald Cohen, executive director of In the Public Interest Action Fund. “There is a sea change happening and taxpayers are leading the charge.”
In Iowa, SF 2235 passed the full Iowa Senate. SF 2235 would give Iowa taxpayers more power to cancel contracts if for-profit corporations fail to meet performance standards.
We all know the political shorthand: “red” states vote conservative while “blue” states vote progressive. But these days the deep red hue of Idaho, Arizona and Texas isn’t just a reflection of their political leanings; it’s all the red flags voters are raising about private prisons in those states.
In 1997, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) took over the Idaho Correctional Center. Predictably, the facility was soon plagued with rampant violence, understaffing, gang activity and contract fraud committed by CCA. One former inmate said the facility was so violent that it was commonly referred to as “gladiator school.” What’s more, in 2012 the Associated Press showed that taxpayers didn’t even get the savings they were promised.
This month, tired of the bad headlines, Idaho Governor Butch Otter – a strong proponent of outsourcing – announced that the state is taking back control of the privately run prison.