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Inclusion of Minimum Wage Increase in COVID Relief Bill Denied

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Parliamentarian says the $15 hourly minimum wage increase is not allowed in the Covid Relief Bill.

What We Know:

  • On Thursday, February 25, the Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough, denied the proposed Covid Relief Bill’s inclusion of a minimum wage increase. This bill was not compliant with the governing rules budget, and the process enabled Democrats to pass the rescue package without the GOP votes. Democrats considered raising the federal minimum wage a priority.
  • The minimum wage is supposed to be a living wage, but that is not the case. Nearly half of all private-sector workers do not have earned sick time, according to oxfamamerica.org. The hourly rate hasn’t kept up with the cost of living since the late 1960s. The earnings of a minimum-wage worker with a family of four fall well below the poverty line, according to investopedia.com.
  • Many struggling Americans claimed Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) relief, which helps low-to-moderate-income workers get a tax break. The amount of credit may change if children, dependents, or the disabled meet the criteria. If this bill passes, then the EITC can expand. The number of jobs lost more than doubles the numbers seen in the 2007-2009 Great Recession, when 8.7 million Americans lost their jobs, according to cidrap.umn.edu.
  • The advantages of increasing the federal minimum wage from $7.25 would be taking tax deductions away from large profitable corporations that don’t pay workers at least $15 an hour. It will lift almost 1 million people out of poverty, and raise the pay floor.

Raising the federal minimum wage would hopefully provide more financial security for many of those still in a financial bondage position. 

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Old Navy to Add Pockets to Girls Jeans After 1st Grader Writes Letter

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A first-grader named Kamryn Gardner noticed her jeans had fake pockets stitched in them and addressed the brand directly in a letter.

What We Know:

  • Gardner attended Evening Star Elementary school and was initially assigned the task of writing a persuasive letter as a school assignment. Gardner decided to address Old Navy in regards to her frustration with the brand not designing pockets for girl’s jeans. She included reasons why she hopes the company will add useful pockets to their current design. The letter was sent to Old Navy’s kid’s team, who commented they would be seriously committed to considering Gardner’s input on future products. Gardner and her family appeared on the Today show on Thursday to talk about their experience with Old Navy.

Gardner’s father commented, “We’re very proud of her. She is a persuasive person. She loves to talk, she’s always excited.”

  • His daughter expressed that she also just wanted a place to keep her hand warm as well as have a convenient place to stash small toys and natural treasures. Gardner’s school also posted the letters from their student and Old Navy to their Facebook page. The post garnered the attention of hundreds of people.
  • Gardner’s mother, Kim Gardner, also teaches at the school. The first-grader originally decided to write her concerns in a letter to Old Navy back in January. Kim revealed that Kamryn always periodically expressed dissatisfaction with her jeans. Kim convinced her daughter that it would be a good life lesson to send a handwritten letter to Old Navy about her problem.
  • Gardner was sent two pairs of denim pants and two pairs of shorts as a sign from the retailer that they appreciate her feedback. The products she received all had real pockets sewn onto them. She was more than excited to reveal what Old Navy had sent her during her class’s show-and-tell day.

Old Navy spokeswoman Sandy Goldberg has since stated that although Old Navy already carries a variety of girls’ pants with pockets, the company will keep Kamryn’s request in mind as more styles are developed.

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Layoffs: BuzzFeed Reduces Staff at HuffPost Weeks After Newsrooms Merge

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Just three weeks after Buzzfeed merged with Huffpost, a massive layoff has dramatically reduced the number of Huffpost staff.

What We Know:

  • Buzzfeed CEO Jonah Peretti announced the cut on Tuesday during a virtual staff meeting. According to The Guardian, the layoff affected nearly 30% of HuffPost’s US-based journalists and has completely shut down HuffPost Canada.
  • The job cuts came as a surprise to many employees, including those with long tenures. HuffPost Canada’s senior reporter Samantha Beatti tweeted the abrupt layoff message, writing, “Without telling us they’ve shut down our site.”

  • The Huffington Post, as it was originally called, was founded by author and businesswoman Arianna Huffington in 2005 and was co-founded by Peretti, Andrew Breitbart, and Kenneth Lerer before Peretti created Buzzfeed. This cut results from the ongoing pandemic as many media corporations look to downsize to avoid closure. Peretti told staffers the layoff was to cut costs and halt two years of financial losses after HuffPost’s exceeded $20 million last year in losses and are estimated to have similar results this year.
  • Peretti defended his decision by telling sources from CNN, “The most responsible thing we can do is to manage our costs and ensure BuzzFeed — and HuffPost — are set up to prosper long-term.” Peretti said. “That’s why we’ve made the difficult decision to restructure HuffPost to reach profitability more quickly. Our goal is for HuffPost to break even this year.”

Peretti also announced that the executive editors of HuffPost, Louise Roug, and Hillary Frey, would be leaving the company as well.

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Goldman Sachs Is Unveiling A New $10 Billion Plan to Invest in Jobs, Health Care & Housing for Black Women

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The “One Million Black Women” initiative is Wall Street’s latest endeavor in promoting equity in the financial industry.

What We Know:

  • Goldman Sachs announced that they would invest more than 10 billion dollars in improving black women’s economic status during the next decade on Wednesday. Forbes says the strategy would fight the “dual disproportionate gender and racial biases that Black women have faced for generations, which have only been exacerbated by the pandemic.”
  • The increased scrutiny of financial inequality aided the project’s creation. The criticism of Wall Street worsened after protests for George Floyd’s death last summer. People were reminded that United States banks contributed to the fiscal disparages between people of color and white people through the now-illegal redlining.
  • The initiative will focus on areas of struggle such as healthcare, job creation, access to capital, and education. They will also set aside another 100 million dollars to fund African-American women’s philanthropic ventures. Figures like Rosalind Brewer, the first black female CEO of Walgreens, and Lisa Jackson, Vice President of Environment, Policy, and Social Initiatives at Apple Inc., will be on the advisory council. Former New Orleans mayor and CEO of National Urban League Marc Morial will participate as well on the council.
  • Goldman Sachs also published a report known as “Black Womenomics.” It describes the bank’s goal to quantify the gender and racial biases women face daily. It concentrates on the wage gap between black women and white men. The difference between white men’s and black women’s pay stands at 35%. The document also discusses investment opportunities for women of color that will help them fight income differences. Goldman Sachs says that reducing the gap could potentially create 1.2-1.7 million jobs. It will also raise the GDP by approximately $450 million annually.

As of February, the unemployment rate for women was 5.9%. However, 8.9% of women did not have a job. “Black Womenomics” and “One Million Black Women” will ensure this rate lowers drastically. The bank is making women of color feel heard and represented amid a pandemic and changing social times.

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