A disproportionately high share of black and Hispanic workers cannot telecommute, according to a report by the Economic Policy Institute based on federal labor data.Asian workers… Nonprofit Professional Employees Union. The coronavirus pandemic has revealed much about the nature of work in the U.S. As state executive orders defined “essential services,” attention was focused on the workers performing those services and the conditions under which they work. Immigrant workers are also overrepresented in building cleaning services, making up 42% of these workers. Phone: 202-775-8810 • epi@epi.org 1225 Eye St. NW, Suite 600 As shown in Table 1, a majority of essential workers by these definitions are employed in health care (30%), food and agriculture (20%), and the industrial, commercial, residential facilities and services industry (12%). A commitment to economic dignity must also go hand-in-hand with protecting workers’ right to organize and bond together to prevent domination and humiliation on the job. The Economic Policy Institute (EcPI) calls itself a “nonprofit, nonpartisan” think tank. A slightly higher share of essential workers than non-essential workers are poor or nearly poor, according to the California Poverty Measure: 14% of essential workers live in poor families compared to 11% of non-essential workers (the comparable estimates for near poverty are 19% and 14%, respectively). Six million immigrant workers are at the frontlines of keeping U.S. residents healthy and fed during the COVID-19 pandemic, representing disproportionate shares of physicians, home health aides, and retail-store pharmacists, for example. They include grocery store clerks, nurses, cleaners, warehouse workers, and bus drivers, among others. Given the low hourly wage rates for these workers, some may face hardships in caring for children or family members with schools and care facilities shuttered. The Trump administration’s failure to provide essential workers basic protections during the coronavirus pandemic sheds light on the importance of unions. In doing this, we build on the excellent work by the Center for Economic and Policy Research in their report A Basic Demographic Profile of Workers in Frontline Industries. (Albany, NY) Today the Fiscal Policy Institute (FPI) released a new report spotlighting New York’s essential workers who are on the frontlines during the COVID-19 pandemic. As California responds to COVID-19, its low-income workers face particularly urgent difficulties. Sponsorships, Informing and improving public policy through independent, objective, nonpartisan research. Using executive orders from California and Maryland as models, we identify below 12 “essential” industries that employ more than 55 million workers, and we detail the demographics, median wages, and union coverage rates for these workers. EPI’s research helps policymakers, opinion leaders, advocates, journalists, and the public understand the bread-and-butter issues affecting ordinary Americans. Essential workers are dying as a result. Authoritative, up-to-date data on the living standards of American workers. According to the new analysis, there are 2.2 million “essential workers” in New York State. Personal care aides—those who assist the elderly and others in their homes or personal care facilities—are the single largest essential job category. Contact us Here's how it impacts your workplace—and our democracy. COVID-19 has created wide health and economic disparities that disproportionally affect families like our own. Sign up for our blog alerts to receive insights from PPIC by email. Key differences are that we use a different data set—the Current Population Survey (CPS) instead of the American Community Survey (ACS), so we could get union breakdowns—and we expand the definition of essential to include occupations found in California and Maryland’s executive orders. Newsletter Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, essential workers provided critical services that often went unnoticed. In addition, many essential workers experience the cost and risk of maintaining their own health while interacting with the public. The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank created in 1986 to include the needs of low- and middle-income workers in economic policy discussions. While this essential workforce supports the state’s health and basic economic needs, many of these workers are not well equipped to weather the economic challenges of the COVID-19 crisis. Further, a great share of these workers who can’t work from home are in the leisure and hospitality industry. Half of the essential industries have a median hourly wage that is less than the nonessential workforce’s median hourly wage. Marxism and long-term unemployment . Grants We’ve broken down our research into several themes and have highlighted some of our most important research in each area: Workers most hurt by COVID-19 Black… Men make up the vast majority of essential workers in the energy sector (96%), water and wastewater management (91%), and critical manufacturing (88%). Before the coronavirus pandemic, unions played a critical role in ensuring workers receive fair pay and working conditions. April 5, 2014. Essential workers fulfill a wide variety of roles in our economy, including in health care services, energy provision, food service, agriculture, and transportation. Essential workers in the food and agriculture industry have the lowest median hourly wage, at $13.12, while essential workers in the financial industry have the highest, at … Source: Economic Policy Institute (EPI) analysis of Current Population Survey Outgoing Rotation Group microdata, EPI Current Population Survey Extracts, Version 1.0.2 (2020), https://microdata.epi.org. Many of these workers are required to work without protective equipment. Jobs at EPI EcPI has roots in radical leftist politics, and it receives a large portion of its funding from organized labor. Please log in or create an account first. These workers earn $13.50 an hour on average and 85% do not have a college degree. For example, registered nurses (the largest occupation within the healthcare practitioner category) are essential, have two- or four-year degrees (68% have a college degree, according to our analysis of American Community Survey data), and earn relatively high wages ($52.32 an hour). Ensuring the ability of essential workers to continue their jobs safely and effectively will be crucial over the coming months. These Californians are not necessarily at high risk of health complications from COVID-19, but they will be deeply affected by the economic consequences of the steps being taken by cities, counties, and regions to contain the outbreak and protect public health. While the coronavirus pandemic has shut down much of the U.S. economy, with over 33 million workers applying for unemployment insurance since March 15, millions of workers are still on the job providing essential services. Meanwhile, there is a workforce that is tackling the public health crisis, keeping the economy going, and supporting Californians who are sheltering in place. In low wage essential jobs, access to health benefits and paid sick leave is limited, even in normal times. Policy choices have tilted the playing field toward the rich and corporations. See what employees say about what it's like to work at Economic Policy Institute. Workers who have continued to go into their workplaces—whom we now call “essential” and “frontline”—have been instrumental in keeping the economy running… Giving Circles Now, more than two months into the pandemic, many essential workers are still risking their lives without basic health and safety protections, paid leave, or premium pay. These memorandums reference the CISA Guidelines for Essential Workers last updated on August 18, 2020, and can be used as companion pieces, along with a letter on company letterhead identifying an employee as essential. Essential workers in the food and agriculture industry have the lowest median hourly wage, at $13.12, while essential workers in the financial industry have the highest, at $29.55. Half of the essential industries have a median hourly wage that is less than the nonessential workforce’s median hourly wage. We estimate that in a typical year, roughly one-third to one-half of California’s labor force is employed in essential occupations. Some workers in these areas may be seeing layoffs and hours reductions depending on their industry, firm, or region. EPI believes every working person deserves a good job with fair pay, affordable health care, and retirement security. Grocery store cashiers, store clerks, farmworkers, and delivery and truck drivers make up sizeable shares of the essential workforce. Thank you! Donate. The following are examples of how unions are fighting for protections for essential workers. EPI is an independent, nonprofit think tank that researches the impact of economic trends and policies on working people in the United States. Many workers in essential industries are also immigrants, making up around 16% of essential workers in Virginia. A study published by Heidi Shierholz of the . Enter your name and then you’re all set! California Poverty Measure coronavirus COVID-19 Economy employment Health & Human Services jobs Population Poverty & Inequality All Blog Posts, Donate Now Child care workers receive very low pay. A new analysis from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) shows frontline Kentucky workers are more likely to be women, and black Kentuckians are overrepresented in some frontline industries. Some workers in these areas may be seeing layoffs and hours reductions depending on their industry, firm, or region. Privacy Policy • Contact Us. It is affiliated with the labor movement and is usually described as presenting a left-leaning and pro- union viewpoint on public policy issues. Some are walking off the job in protest over unsafe conditions and demanding personal protective equipment (PPE), and unions are fighting to ensure workers are receiving adequate workplace protections. Congress must act and pass legislation that is responsive to the magnitude of this crisis and direct assistance to the tens of millions of working families most impacted by the public health and economic emergencies. The following are examples of how unions help working people. A new study, Essential But Disposable: Undocumented Workers and Their Mixed-Status Families, Modeling COVID-19 Economic Impacts and Government Relief Policies by Race and Immigration Status in Los Angeles County, California, and the United States, published today found the exclusion of undocumented residents and their families from the $1,200 stimulus payments given to … Table 3 shows the median wages for nonessential and essential workers by gender, education, and race and ethnicity. One in 10 have less than a high school diploma. Exploring how race, ethnicity, and class intersect to affect economic outcomes in the United States. A recent analysis of Census data by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) lends insight into who Florida’s frontline workers are — these are the nearly 2 million individuals deemed “essential” during this pandemic. The EPI describes itself as a non-partisan think tank that "seeks to include the needs of low- and middle-income workers in economic policy discussions". Paid sick leave, adequate health coverage, income support, access to child care, and sufficient personal protective gear should all be part of the policy discussion. The tables below provide a basic demographic profile of workers in these frontline industries. … Copy the code below to embed this chart on your website. The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) has won, The AFL-CIO has called on the Department of Labor to, The American Postal Workers Union (APWU) has, The Transport Workers Union of America (TWU) and the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU). Events Child care workers are 95.6 percent female, and are disproportionately workers of color. Some essential jobs are obvious, as they are on the front lines of the public health crisis. New research, insightful graphics, and event invites in your inbox every week. California is grappling with the dual threats of a public health crisis caused by the coronavirus and the additional economic fallout of necessary social distancing measures. Nearly 70% of essential workers do not have a college degree. Almost twice as many employees are working from home as at a workplace. ECONOMIC POLICY INSTITUTE • 1333 H STREET, NW • SUITE 300, EAST TOWER • WASHINGTON, DC 20005 • 202.775.8810 • WWW.EPI.ORG One in eight (12%) essential workers are covered by a union contract, with the biggest share working in emergency services (51%). Strikingly, some of the most high-risk industries have the lowest unionization rates, such as health care (10%) and food and agriculture (8%). By 1986, a group of left-wing economists led by Jeff Faux of the National Center for Economic Alternatives had founded the Economic Policy Institute as a think tank to advance an agenda closely aligned with that of the international labor unions. The coronavirus pandemic has revealed the lack of power far too many U.S. workers experience in the workplace. There are roughly 55 million workers in industries deemed “essential” at this time. The remaining 26 percent are working on their business’s premises, primarily as essential service workers. According to estimates from the Migration Policy Institute, there are about 175,000 undocumented workers living in Virginia. As the daughters of Latinx immigrants and essential workers, we see firsthand that our family members and communities lack the supports they need to effectively protect themselves against the coronavirus and adapt to new work environments. To achieve this goal, EPI conducts research and analysis on […] The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) was established in 1999 to promote democratic debate on the most important economic and social issues that affect people’s lives. The Economic Policy Institute staff is unionized with the People of color make up the majority of essential workers in food and agriculture (50%) and in industrial, commercial, residential facilities and services (53%). As seen in the figure below, only 8.8% of leisure and hospitality workers are able to telework, versus more than 50% of workers in financial activities, professional and … Table 4 shows the union coverage rates of essential and nonessential workers by industry. Women make up the majority of essential workers in health care (76%) and government and community-based services (73%). There’s an inherent imbalance of bargaining power between employers and employees. Why give to EPI Table 2 shows the demographics of essential workers by industry, including gender, education level, and race and ethnicity. Note: Code for the definition of essential services used here is available upon request. Mandated lockdowns are now slated to continue through at least May 1 in some parts of the state and  may last even longer. Weak labor protections have put Midwestern food processing workers at risk for coronavirus, all while Tyson Foods supervisors privately bet on the number of workers who would get sick from COVID-19. So, by sheer numbers, the U.S. is a working-from … A network of state and local organizations improving workers' lives through research and advocacy. Interactive tools and videos bringing clarity to the national dialogue on economic inequality. However, workers outside of the health care sector are also on the front lines. Make a donation to support WW>>> Get Workers World by … Policymakers must address the needs of working people in relief and recovery legislation, and that should include ensuring workers have a meaningful right to a union. Economic Policy Institute. But behind its façade of political balance lays an agenda-driven organization. A comprehensive look at their wages, demographics, and unionization rates, Program on Race, Ethnicity, and the Economy, Economic Analysis and Research Network (EARN), are not receiving the most basic health and safety measures, failed to provide essential workers basic protections, A Basic Demographic Profile of Workers in Frontline Industries, access to employer-sponsored health benefits, providing health insurance and requiring safety equipment, 14% increase in the rate of occupational fatalities, enact and enforce policies that would protect essential workers, secured additional paid sick leave, extended paid leave for dependent care, and expanded teleworking policies, are working together to put pressure on transit agencies to secure safety protections, Collective bargaining and right to organize, Program on Race, Ethnicity, and the Economy • PREE, Economic Analysis and Research Network • EARN. In the past week, we have seen unemployment claims skyrocket and policymakers forge supports for workers and businesses. EPI’s founders are major players in left-Democratic economic thinking and labor policy making. Differences in skills and pay translate into notable differences in economic well-being for these workers and their families. And the remaining 26 percent – mostly essential service workers – are working on their business premises. However, despite being categorized as essential, many workers in these industries are not receiving the most basic health and safety measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus. EPI believes every working person deserves a good job with fair pay, affordable health care, and retirement security. Before the candidates take the stage for the 2020 presidential debates, EPI has compiled resources that could be helpful in fact-checking the economic and political claims that are made. They were essential before the pandemic hit, yet also overworked, underpaid, under protected, and under appreciated. The New York City Council is currently considering a package of similar policies for essential workers. © 2020 Economic Policy Institute Board of Directors While the Trump administration has failed to provide essential workers basic protections, working people are taking action. They have no effective right to refuse dangerous assignments and are not even being granted premium pay, despite working in difficult and dangerous conditions. In the mid-1980s, left-wing labor union-aligned economic policy advocates sought to counter the growing influence of free-market-based policy in the Reagan Administration. A new report—titled “Billionaire Wealth vs. Community Health: Protecting Essential Workers from Pandemic Profiteers” by Bargaining for the Common Good, the Institute for Policy Studies, and United for Respect—shines a light on the “Delinquent Dozen.” … Read the full article at Common Dreams. Three in 10 essential workers have some college (30%) or a high school diploma (29%). The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank created in 1986 to include the needs of low- and middle-income workers in economic policy discussions. Nearly every state governor has issued executive orders that outline industries deemed “essential” during the pandemic, which typically include health care, food service, and public transportation, among others. Essential workers fulfill a wide variety of roles in our economy, including in health care services, energy provision, food service, agriculture, and transportation. Here's how to tilt it back. How do taxes and spending work, and where do you fit in? Newsroom All Contents © Public Policy Institute of California 2020 |, Emergency Child Care for Essential Workers, Overcrowded Housing and COVID-19 Risk among Essential Workers, Counting Californians and Holding Elections in a Pandemic. During the COVID-19 crisis, expanding access to personal protective gear could reduce the health risks among workers whose job requires some level of contact with the public. The Essential Workers Bill of Rights, introduced by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) Read the full report: New York’s Essential Workers: Overlooked, Underpaid, and Indispensable The Fiscal Policy Institute is a nonpartisan, nonprofit research and education organization committed to improving public policies and private practices to better the economic and social conditions of all. Salaries, reviews and more - all posted by employees working at Economic Policy Institute. Staff Hiding stagnation and ‘missing workers’ ... 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