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Posts tagged ‘workers’

The White House Summit on Working Families

June 21, 2014

reptomstevens

White House Summit InviteI was nominated by my friends at Vermont Voices for Children and the Vermont Commission on Women to attend this event. I was lucky to be invited, and I am proud to represent Vermont, and the House of Representatives, and my committee at this event. This commentary appeared today in the Barre Montpelier Times Argus, and may appear in other newspapers this week.

In today’s world of paralyzed politics, at least on the national level, it seems impossible that any series of policies would be supported by 86 percent of voters — including 96 percent of Democrats, 73 percent of Republicans and 87 percent of independents — doesn’t it?

But when it comes to workplace policies like paid family leave and earned sick days, the vast majority of Americans — across party lines and across demographics — agree we need laws to keep working families economically secure and help balance the demands of work and family. And why not? It has been shown that without a doubt, these policies strengthen families, protect public health and boost the economy.

My work, and the work of my committee and of many advocates across the state of Vermont, focused on these very issues this past biennium. The struggles we had in passing legislation mirrored a certain status quo that developed over the past generation, where workers were disposable, real wages declined, and the effects of the growing service economy were negatively oriented away from the health and well-being of the families who were stuck in these low-wage jobs. And the success we found on issues like equal pay, quality child and home health care, and minimum wage made us all proud that we were providing real relief for working Vermonters. Read more