Employment trends threaten the economic security of working families

December 30, 2015 by

Jody Harris blog 11-16-2015As if employment opportunities for low-income workers weren’t bleak enough―low-wages, no retirement savings, no health insurance―now these workers face a complete breakdown of the traditional employer-employee relationship that historically provided for safe working conditions, income protections, and economic security.

Nearly 33% of Maine working families are low-income. That means 40,000 Maine households with at least one child have at least one member who is working and … Read the rest

Governor LePage ignores the value of land conservation to Maine’s economy

December 21, 2015 by

James Myall websiteGov. LePage recently announced that he will belatedly sign off on multiple voter approved bond issues for the Land for Maine’s Future (LMF) program, but he remains an outspoken critic of the program.  At a December 17 Waterville “town hall” meeting, the governor said that he “hates” the LMF program and that the recent bond release does not indicate he has “changed his mind.” In the past week, LePage has … Read the rest

Maine’s lower unemployment rate not necessarily good news

December 18, 2015 by

James Myall websiteState Commissioner of Labor Jeanne Paquette today released the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) statewide workforce estimates for November. The headline touts a drop in unemployment to 4.1%, “the lowest since 2002.” If this appears to be cause for celebration – not so fast. Although the number of unemployed workers in Maine has been dropping steadily over the last five years (from a high of 58,000, or 8.3% … Read the rest

Maine’s working families set to score an important win in the tax package scheduled for vote in the House and Senate

December 16, 2015 by

More than 37,000 hardworking Maine families will keep a key income boost that helps them go to work and pay for basic necessities under a new bipartisan agreement in Congress that saves critically important provisions of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC).

EITC-CTC 12-16-2015

The agreement announced late Tuesday night makes permanent provisions of the EITC and CTC currently scheduled to expire in 2017.  Without … Read the rest

Is DHHS SNAP mismanagement putting Maine families at risk of hunger?

December 15, 2015 by

In a blistering editorial published in today’s Portland Press Herald, Kennebec Journal, and Central Maine Morning Sentinel, MaineToday Media condemned the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) for its administration of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps), earning the dubious distinction of “worst administered in the whole country, ranking 53rd out of 53,” according to the U.S. Department … Read the rest

Shop ‘til you drop ― It’s no holiday for retail workers

December 2, 2015 by

Jody Harris blog 11-16-2015Too many Mainers today work too few hours for too low pay. The data show over and over and over how part-time, low-wage, and benefit-less jobs trap people in poverty, make it hard for working families to pay their bills, and discourage their aspirations for education and opportunity.

In addition to low wages, retail and other service-sector workers struggle with precarious work schedules.

Work Schedules 12-2-2015 blog

According to one study, 17% of … Read the rest