Category Archives: Employment

News Coverage: “This Republican mayor has an incredibly simple idea to help the homeless. And it seems to be working.”

Colby Itkowitz, This Republican mayor has an incredibly simple idea to help the homeless. And it seems to be working, Washington Post, August, 11, 2016. [Public works day jobs provide hope for Albuquerque’s homeless.]


Op-Ed: “Poverty Matters: Five Key Takeaways from the 2016 Census Data”

John Bouman, Poverty Matters: Five Key Takeaways from the 2016 Census Data Poverty Matters: Five Key Takeaways from the 2016 Census Data, The Shriver Brief, September 13, 2017. [Slight improvements haven not translated into gains for those facing poverty.]

Op-Ed: “How the Ruling Class Remade New Orleans”

Thomas Adams, How the Ruling Class Remade New Orleans, Jacobin Magazine, August 2015. [“The language of social justice has been used to sell intensified neoliberalism in post-Katrina New Orleans.”]

Op-Ed: “Unemployment in Black and White”

The Editorial Board, Unemployment in Black and White, Washington Post, August 28, 2017. [“The hard truth is that the persistence of twice-as-high joblessness for black workers has led policy makers to accept it as normal.”]

New Report: “What Is It Like to Apply for SNAP and Other Work Supports?”

New Report: Heather Hahn, Michael Katz, & Julia B. Isaacs, What Is It Like to Apply for SNAP and Other Work Supports?, Urban Institute, Aug. 2017. Abstract below:

Many working families are eligible for help with food, health insurance, and child care to support their families and stabilize their employment. Applying for support, though, can be confusing and time intensive, leaving some eligible families without key supports. This brief examines the experiences of clients applying for work supports: what they go through, what they care about, and how experiences differ for different clients. We find that state social service agencies and local social services office can help families access supports by using fast, efficient processes; offering a range of options for how to apply, including online systems; interacting with clients respectfully; and providing clear information on how to apply for and maintain supports.

New Book: “Invisible Labor: Hidden Work in the Contemporary World”

ILaborNew Book: Invisible Labor: Hidden Work in the Contemporary World (Marion Crain, Winifred Poster, and Miriam Cherry eds., 2016). Overview below:

Across the world, workers labor without pay for the benefit of profitable businesses—and it’s legal. Labor trends like outsourcing and technology hide some workers, and branding and employer mandates erase others. Invisible workers who remain under-protected by wage laws include retail workers who function as walking billboards and take payment in clothing discounts or prestige; waitstaff at “breastaurants” who conform their bodies to a business model; and inventory stockers at grocery stores who go hungry to complete their shifts. Invisible Labor gathers essays by prominent sociologists and legal scholars to illuminate how and why such labor has been hidden from view.

New Article: “Workers’ Rights as Natural Human Rights”

New Article: Anne Marie Lofaso, Workers’ Rights as Natural Human Rights, 71 U. Miami L. Rev. 565 (2017). Abstract below:


We live in an increasingly polarized world: one summed up by President Clinton, “we’re all in this together;” the other summed up by then-presidential candidate Trump, “I alone can fix it.” These world views have implications for workers and how the future workplace is ordered. In this Article, I explore the idea that a natural human rights approach to workplace regulations will tend to favor the we’reall-in-this-together view, whereas the Lochnerian or neoliberal view tends to favor an individualistic world view.

The Article’s six-step analytical approach starts with a historical analysis of labor law jurisprudence, concluding that U.S. labor laws must be filtered through a law-and-economic lens of U.S.-styled capitalism to predict the outcomes of legal disputes and to expose human rights infirmities inherent to that approach. In step two, I explore T.H. Marshall’s account of citizenship, concluding that Marshall’s rights-based rubric is too limited to fully explain workers’ rights, which tend to cut across the full gamut of human rights. In step three, I expand upon Marshall’s work to build a framework for evaluating workplace laws based on the worker as a citizen of the labor force who has human rights. I do this using two methodologies: (1) comparative legal analysis between U.S. law and international human rights standards; and (2) jurisprudential analysis of fundamental values within a rights-based framework. In step four, I modify John Rawls’s famous thought experiment to include a veil of empathy. In that modified experiment, I conclude that participants in the original position behind a veil of empathy would generate values underlying human rights, namely autonomy (to become part author of one’s work life) and dignity (to be treated as a person always as an end and never merely as a means). In step five, I apply this human rights approach to show that workers’ and employers’ interests conflict at the interests-level and, more fundamentally, at the values-level. I conclude that these conflicts are primarily over the distribution of that which labor and capital create. This distributional question is fundamental a question of moral and political justice, which will and does have real political consequences. In step six, I set forth a path along which this research project should explore.

Op-Ed: “What the Minimum Wage Debate Gets Wrong”

Op-Ed: Brishen Rogers, What the Minimum Wage Debate Gets Wrong, Boston Review, Aug. 3, 2017.

New Article: “Rendered Invisible: African American Low-Wage Workers and the Workplace Exploitation Paradigm”

New Article: Llezlie Green Coleman, Rendered Invisible: African American Low-Wage Workers and the Workplace Exploitation Paradigm, 60 Howard L.J. 61 (2016). Abstract below:

The narrative of low-wage worker exploitation has increasingly narrowed in focus to reflect the experiences of undocumented immigrant workers whose immigration status makes them particularly vulnerable to wage theft and other denials of their substantive workplace rights. Indeed, much of the scholarship in this area rests solidly at the intersection of immigrant justice and employment law. This article disrupts this paradigm by arguing that this limited narrative has rendered African American low-wage workers invisible. It also draws from the voices of low-wage worker advocates who have borrowed from current activism to announce that #BlackWorkersMatter. Given the role of paradigms in defining which issues merit our attention, analysis, and assessment, this article argues for a shift in the scholarly conversation to consider not only the historical reasons for the distancing of African Americans from worker advocacy, but also the current dynamics that have facilitated this phenomenon. This article draws from critical race theorists’ black/white binary analysis to consider whether there exists an immigrant/non-immigrant binary paradigm in the analyses of low-wage worker exploitation. Finally, it considers the particular vulnerabilities and disadvantages this paradigm creates for African American workers.

New Pathways Issue: “State of the Union 2017”

SOTU_cover_smallNew Pathways : “State of the Union 2017” (Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality 2017). Table of contents below:

Executive Summary
Are our country’s policies for reducing racial and ethnic inequalities getting the job done? The simple answer: No.
Even after the recovery, 1 in 9 African Americans and 1 in 6 Hispanics fear a job loss within one year. Why?
We remain two Americas: a high-poverty America for blacks, Hispanics, and Native Americans, and a (relatively) low-poverty America for whites and Asians.
Safety Net
The safety net, which is supposed to serve an equalizing function, sometimes works to exacerbate racial and ethnic inequalities within the low-income population.
Whereas 1 in 6 black and Hispanic households dedicate at least half of their income to housing costs, only 1 in 12 white households do. How did that happen?
Between 1990 and 2015, average academic performance improved for students of all racial and ethnic groups, but grew fastest among black and Hispanic students. The result: White-black and white-Hispanic achievement gaps declined by 15 to 25 percent.
Did you think that all that talk about criminal justice reform has brought about a sea change in racial inequalities in incarceration? Think again.
Large and persistent racial gaps in health are not the product of our genes but the consequences of our policies and history.
Between 1970 and 2010, the earnings gap between whites and other groups has narrowed, but most of that decline was secured in the immediate aftermath of the Civil Rights Movement.
African-Americans have less than 8 cents and Hispanics less than 10 cents of wealth for every dollar amassed by whites.
Intergenerational Mobility
The persistence of poverty has long been stronger for blacks than whites. However, beginning with generations that came of age in the mid-1960s, the white-black gap in the chance of escaping poverty has closed significantly.