“You can’t talk about economic indicators and economic progress without talking about how racism fundamentally shaped the way the economy was formed in the first place,” says Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman, editor of The Black Agenda: Bold Solutions for a Broken System.Listen to the podcast
“When inflation is not a problem, then it’s much easier to say, ‘We’re going to maximize employment and see how far we can take this,’ ” said Valerie Wilson, director of the Economic Policy Institute’s program on race, ethnicity and the economy. “But with inflation in the mix, they’re in a position now where they can’t really ignore that.”
“Overall employment is now just 1% from its pre-pandemic level,” Elise Gould, senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute, tweeted. “Private-sector jobs record strong gains rising 426,000 in March with notable jobs added in leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, and retail trade. Public-sector employment still slow to return.”
Harris was former acting and deputy labor secretary during the Obama administration, and in a 2015 paper on the gig economy, he called for a new “independent worker” classification for on-demand app workers. These “independent workers” wouldn’t be independent contractors or employees, and would qualify for collective bargaining rights but not hours-based benefits, including overtime or minimum wages—a proposal that drew criticism from the AFL-CIO and the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute.
But few observers would dispute the assessment of Celine McNicholas, a former NLRB special counsel who is now the general counsel and director of policy and government affairs at the Economic Policy Institute, who tells me, “Installing Jennifer Abruzzo as the NLRB’s general counsel will be the most impactful action that the Biden administration took in its first term for working people.”
In such private tribunals, workers win far less often and the median damages awarded are just $36,500, compared with $86,000 in state courts and $176,000 in federal court, an Economic Policy Institute analysis found.
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A 2020 analysis by the Economic Policy Institute found only a few employers have spent more than $1 million on anti-union consultants, and it’s typically taken several years to rack up such a bill. Any spending in the hundreds of thousands of dollars is on the high end. None of the companies in EPI’s analysis came close to spending as much as Amazon in such a short period of time.
But some think that a punitive tax on windfall taxes could be effective in reducing big price hikes. “If you had excess profits tax, firms would say, ‘I could raise prices a ton, but those profits will be taxed away, so I’ll just keep prices low,’” economist Josh Bivens of the Economic Policy Institute said.