Centenary College raises minimum wage to $10.10 per hour
Proof that the presidential bully pulpit can still be effective: Centenary College in Shreveport is raising the minimum wage of its campus workers to $10.10 per hour, a move the president of the private college said was motivated by President Barack Obama’s call for a national minimum wage at tha amount. Centenary President David Rowe said the changes take effect immediately — directly impacting 25 people who provide grounds keeping, housekeeping and food services. Rowe calls the change a “principle decision,” and noted that two major contractors, National Resource Management and Sodexo, also have agreed to pay the higher wage. The $2.85 per hour raise for will give full-time Centenary workers an extra $7,488 annually, the equivalent to an extra $114 a week.
Large banks distance themselves from payday lenders
Banks across the nation are steering clear of customers engaged in legal activities that are now receiving heavy scrutiny from the federal government. As The Wall Street Journal writes, The banks are sacrificing revenue from a broad array of customers, from marijuana merchants and payday lenders to virtual-currency companies, online gamblers and people who have been convicted of a crime, in order to play it safe. … While the temptation to deal with certain businesses might be high, some banking-industry veterans said, it isn’t worth provoking regulators or adding more resources to ensure that the clients are meeting industry standards. In addition to scaling back business with payday lenders, four major banks agreed to stop offering their customers payday loan-like products after receiving warnings from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
Demand for skilled labor in Southeast Louisiana quadruples
The demand for skilled labor in Southeast Louisiana is expected to quadruple as Baby Boomers retire and more petrochemical and manufacturing companies move to the state, according to a report by the Greater New Orleans Community Data Center. GNOCDC anticipates most of the new 42,000 openings to be in occupations that require both a high school diploma and various levels of post-secondary training. Wages are anticipated to be between $15 and $35 per hour. GNOCDC also notes that the current labor supply does not adequately meet the demand for skilled labor. Training workers for the new jobs will require a coordinated effort by nonprofits, industry representatives and community and technical colleges.
Nation’s wealthiest have a meltdown over income inequality
Efforts by President Barack Obama and others to address America’s growing income inequality are causing deep-seated anxiety among the 1 percent set, according to Politico. The fear is so great that the co-founder of one of the nation’s oldest venture capital firms penned a letter to the editor in The Wall Street Journal comparing initiatives to shrink income inequality to The Holocaust, while the co-founder of Home Depot said Pope Francis’ warnings against the dangers of income concentration would result in fewer donations from the wealthy because “Rich people in one country don’t act the same as rich people in another country.” Political experts say the fear among the nation’s super wealthy is largely driven by rhetoric, as none of the issues currently being debated — like raising the minimum wage — have a large impact on the wealthiest 1 percent.
New “Inequality for All” screening date: Feb 6
LBP invites you to attend a free screening of the film “Inequality for All” on Thursday, Feb. 6 at the Baton Rouge Kress Gallery (447 3rd St., Baton Rouge). The film (you can view the trailer here) is narrated by former Labor Secretary Robert Reich and discusses how the massive consolidation of wealth by a few has a devastating impact on our economy and on the foundation of American democracy itself. With the 2014 legislative session fast approaching, this is a unique opportunity to discuss solutions to one of the most pressing issues of our time. Light refreshments will be served at 5 p.m., and the film will start promptly at 5:30 p.m., followed by a post-screening Q&A. Seating is limited and available on a first come first serve basis. Please RSVP here so we can provide an adequate amount of refreshments. Note that an RSVP does not ensure a seat at the event.