Frank Manzo IV is the Policy Director of the Illinois Economic Policy Institute (ILEPI). Visit ILEPI at www.illinoisepi.org or follow ILEPI on Twitter @illinoisEPI. This post is part of the “Frankonomics” series. Governor Rauner gave the annual “State of the State” Address this … Continue reading The Private Sector Is NOT Doing Well Under Rauner
Frank Manzo IV is the Policy Director of the Illinois Economic Policy Institute (ILEPI). Visit ILEPI at www.illinoisepi.org or follow ILEPI on Twitter @illinoisEPI. This is the first post of the “Frankonomics” series. Want to work in Chicago? Your best bet may be … Continue reading Chicago Specializes in These Jobs
Frank Manzo IV is the Policy Director of the Illinois Economic Policy Institute (ILEPI). Visit ILEPI at www.illinoisepi.org or follow ILEPI on Twitter @illinoisEPI. A recent report by the Tax Foundation showed the real value of $100 in each state, based … Continue reading Wages are Higher in Illinois Even After Accounting for the Cost of Living
CHICAGO- A new study released today finds that labor unions play a vital role in Illinois’ communities and economy, but face major challenges. The study, The State of the Unions 2015: A Profile of Unionization in Chicago, in Illinois, and in America [PDF] was conducted by researchers at the University of Illinois (Robert Bruno, PhD), the University of Chicago (Virginia Parks, PhD), and the Illinois Economic Policy Institute (Frank Manzo IV, MPP).
Since 2005, union membership in Illinois has declined by approximately 97,000 workers, contributing to the 1.12 million drop in union members across the nation. Declining unionization in Illinois has primarily been the result of decreases in male, Latino/a, and private sector unionization.
However, there has been some good news for those in the Illinois labor movement. From 2012 to 2014, the state’s unionization rate increased from 14.6 percent to 15.1 percent, and total union membership increased by about 30,000 workers. Continue reading “Study – Union Power in Illinois is Significant, but Waning”
Analysis of new data from the Current Population Survey (conducted jointly by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau) reveals that 4.8 percent of the Illinois workforce earns less than $8.25 an hour, the legal minimum wage for workers aged 18 years or older in firms with 4 or more employees. In total, an estimated 264,508 workers earned less than the minimum wage in 2014. Among sub-minimum wage earners (SMWEs), hourly pay averages just $6.66, or $1.59 per hour below the minimum wage floor. This translates into an economic loss of $1,654 over the year for part-time employees who worked 20 hours per week in 2014.
While many of these workers are under 18 years old or are employed by small businesses excluded from the minimum wage law, many others are the victims of wage theft. A 2009 study by researchers at the National Employment Law Project, the University of Illinois at Chicago, Cornell University, and the University of California – Los Angeles found that 26 percent of low-wage, “front-line” workers were paid less than the legally-required minimum wage. The highest violation rates occurred in apparel and textile manufacturing, private households, and personal and repair services. Similarly, in a survey of 57 car washes in the City of Chicago, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that 76 percent of hand car wash workers earned below the state’s minimum wage and 13 percent earned less than $2 per hour.
Minimum wage theft occurs for many reasons. First, there could be information problems in that employers may not realize that their practices are depriving workers of owed income or that they have misclassified workers as temporary or contingent workers. Second, tipped employees may not be compensated by their employer enough to close the minimum wage gap when the tips fall short. Third, business practices that elevate short-term profits above long-term profitability put downward pressures on wages. Fourth, economically inefficient social issues such as racial, gender, sexual orientation, and religious discrimination could also be factors. Continue reading “Over 250,000 Illinois Workers Earn Less than the Minimum Wage”
Frank Manzo IV is the Policy Director of the Illinois Economic Policy Institute (ILEPI). Visit ILEPI at http://www.illinoisepi.org or follow ILEPI on Twitter @illinoisEPI. How are you doing this tax season, fellow Illinois resident? The average worker earns $23 per … Continue reading How Are You Doing This Tax Season?
Last week, ILEPI fact-checked claims made by Governor Rauner that were most important to his policy agenda. Governor Rauner has now put some of his untrue and misleading claims into action in his budget proposal.
This afternoon Governor Rauner proposed a $4.18 billion reduction in state spending, an 11.7 percent cut from last year (without adjusting for inflation). The budget proposal comes after Rauner paid $120,000 to consultant Donna Arduin for four months of service. Keep in mind that Rauner has (incorrectly) asserted that state employee salaries are out-of-control while increasing the salaries of his top officials by 36 percent higher than their predecessors were paid under former Governor Quinn.
Among the $4.18 billion in proposed cuts, the Rauner budget reportedly includes: Continue reading “Proposed Rauner Budget Hammers Low-Income and Middle-Class Families in Illinois”
Today, the Illinois Economic Policy Institute (ILEPI) released a new Research Report on the Illinois labor movement. Co-authored with researchers from the University of Illinois Labor Education Program (LEP) and University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration (SSA), The State of the Unions 2014: A Profile of Unionization in Chicago, in Illinois, and in America (PDF) analyzes the current state of labor unions and the course of unionization. The report investigates unionization rates and the impact of unions on wages across demographic, education, sector, industry, and occupation classifications.
Below are the main findings of the report, which is available online at this link (PDF):
- There are approximately 116,000 fewer union members in Illinois today than there were in 2003 (and about 1.26 million fewer nationwide);
- The decline in union members was primarily the result of decreases in male unionization, white unionization, and private sector unionization;
- Despite the long-term downward trends, however, unionization increased in Illinois last year (from 14.6 percent to 15.7 percent- or by about 50,000 new members);
- The year-over-year gains were driven by increases in the unionization of Chicago area workers, female workers, African-American workers, public sector workers, and older workers. Indeed, while union membership rates for women, African-American workers, and the public sector have trended downwards nationally, unionization for these groups has risen in Illinois since 2003;
- Employment in the utilities industry, construction industry, or public sector raises the chances that a given Illinois worker is a union member;
- High school dropouts, non-citizens, and residents who live in rural communities are less likely to be unionized in Illinois;
- Unions raise worker wages by 21.4 percent on average (20.3 percent on median) in Illinois, higher than the national average of 16.7 percent;
- Illinois ranks 8th among the 50 states plus D.C. in terms of union wage premium; and
- Union workers work 4.8 hours longer each week than nonunion workers in Illinois.
Separately, ILEPI has also released another Economic Commentary jointly with the University of Illinois Labor Education Program on the socioeconomic differences between union households and nonunion households in America. Union and Nonunion Households: General Social Survey, 2000-2012 (PDF) compares and contrasts individuals in the two types of households across many characteristics– including household composition, work and income traits, religiosity, political affiliation, and institutional confidence. Continue reading “Union Power in 2014: Significant but Waning”