Governor Dannel Malloy, Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee and Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin spoke to reporters on a White House conference call over the weekend. The chief executives agree a higher minimum wage is critical to boosting workers’ purchasing power and strengthening the economy.
Federal Labor Secretary Thomas Perez joined U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, local workers and politicians in Hartford today to discuss a minimum wage increase. The current federal minimum wage is $7.25. In Connecticut the wage is higher at $8.70 an hour, and is set to increase to $9.00 next year.
The debate over unemployment insurance has Congress in a deadlock. Those opposed to extending emergency benefits argue that doing so only promotes an "idle" class of jobless Americans. Those in favor say it's the only safety net the unemployed have in today’s difficult labor market.
I’m with production manager Eryka Wright on the shop floor of East Hartford-based Onyx Spirits Co. LLC, which makes handcrafted Prohibition-era moonshine. While some workers carry boxes, Wright and one of her employees are doing the chicken dance. "We do random dance outbreaks to keep the blood flowing and keep the energy high," she said.
Wright supervises employees with developmental disabilities. They're trained by MARC Inc., a state-funded, Manchester-based not-for-profit chapter of ARC, a national advocacy group for people with disabilities such as autism, Down's syndrome, and fragile X. The organization places workers at companies across Connecticut, including Bob’s Discount Furniture, Gerber Scientific, and McDonald’s franchises.
I've been writing a newspaper column for The Hartford Courant since 1982. For my first 15 years or so, I tended to write the column at The Hartford Courant. In the last ten years, I have written columns in the following places: a sports bar in San Francisco; a boat moving along the Rhine; the famous Brasserie Balzar in Paris; an outdoor clearing in the Yucatan jungle where, bizarrely, there was WiFi; and a living room in Kobe, Japan.
It's tough to know how many workers from Dunkin Donuts, Subway, McDonalds and other fast food outlets in Hartford walked off the job Thursday. But organizers of the one-day strike say they're happy the city has joined what's becoming a national movement.
Losia Nyankale helps daughter Jonessa and son Juliean learn the alphabet. Nyankale, who works in a restaurant in Washington, D.C., says she needs food stamps and child-care subsidies to make ends meet.
Losia Nyankale, 29, didn't mean to make a career in the restaurant business. But after Nyankale was in college for two years, her mom lost her job as a schoolteacher and could no longer pay tuition. Then, Nyankale's temp jobs in bookkeeping dried up in the recession. So she went back to her standby — restaurant work.
"I did some kitchen work. The pantries or the salad station," she says. "I've also managed, supervised, wash[ed] dishes."
When Connecticut passed a law two years ago that required employers to provide paid sick leave it was the first state in the nation to do so. And so putting that law into practice has been something of an experiment. This year, businesses asked for some changes to make the law easier to comply with. But as WNPR's Harriet Jones reports, they didn't get them.
When you hear the sound of sirens in one of Eastern Connecticut's towns, it's a fair bet that the vehicle involved belongs to American Ambulance Service, based in Norwich.
We'll look at the basics of replacing a traditional lawn with a wide variety of easy-care, no-mow, drought-tolerant, money-saving options that will appeal to today's busy, eco-conscious homeowner. Whether you’re a beginner or expert gardener, green thumb or black, Pam Penick's Lawn Gone! provides realistic choices, achievable plans, and simple instructions for renovating your yard from start to finish.
In 2010, the Pew Center on the States reported that a majority of states didn’t have enough available cash to pay for the pensions of their public sector workers...and Connecticut--along with Illinois, Kentucky, and Rhode Island were in the most trouble.
But, not all states fared so badly.
While Connecticut had assets to cover only 53% of its pension obligations in 2010, North Carolina, South Dakota, Washington, and Wisconsin had assets to cover 95% of their pension obligations in the same year.
The Connecticut Department of Labor says economic recovery is taking longer than expected because of the lingering effects of a balance sheet recession – the most severe of its kind. Sectors saw steep reductions in their networth and consumers are still paying off personal debt. It’s a delicate environment where any negative trends could tip the apple cart, say economists at a panel discussion at the Labor Department.
Conventional career wisdom dictates that kids choose a solid profession where jobs are plentiful and paychecks are large. But certainty doesn't appeal to everyone. WNPR’s Sujata Srinivasan meets some young people who instead, are following their dreams.
“Dance has the ability to take you places that being, you know an accountant or working a retail job just couldn’t take you.”
In his State of the Union address, President Obama issued a challenge:
"To grow our middle class, our citizens must have access to the education and training that today’s jobs require. But we also have to make sure that America remains a place where everyone who’s willing to work hard has the chance to get ahead."
WNPR has an experimental radio project and we want you to get involved. The idea is simple - we provide a theme, you call our hotline and tell a story.
The theme: a work-related haiku!
On July 22, Colin McEnroe is doing a show all about the haiku, and we want you to write one inspired by the work YOU do. Call up our voicemail number and leave us a message with your haiku: 860-580-9677.
Haiku is unrhymed, syllabic poetry - three lines of 5, 7 and 5 syllables.
One of the many interesting questions about procrastination is whether writers are, as a species, the absolutely worst culprits or whether writers are just better at describing procrastination than other people. Here's Paul Rudnick on the subject:
Lunch here at WNPR is both a sad and a joyous affair.
Those people who work on this show have, of course, almost no time for lunch. We mostly eat at our desks, but then so do most of our co-workers, even the ones on very different schedules.
On the happier side, we have established diplomatic relations with a wide network of cheap takeout providers, and it's not uncommon for ace newsman Jeff Cohen to blow a wooden whistle announcing what we call "the lunch train." (To get on board is to consult that takeout menu and place one's order.)
Governor Dannel Malloy has talked a lot about the importance of big business in his first few weeks on the job, and he’s sat down with many of the state’s largest employers. Monday in New London he visited with a small company, that ten years ago was just one man and his computer. WNPR’s Harriet Jones went along.
We hear all the time that small businesses are having trouble accessing credit. But sometimes it’s hard to picture what that means both for an individual firm, and for the wider economy. To find out more, WNPR’s Harriet Jones visited a construction company that’s currently rehabbing several old homes in Middletown.