Common Dreams - May 7, 2021

"Instead of blaming struggling workers," Pearl continued, "large corporations that do not pay their employees a liveable wage... should take this moment to self-reflect. Maybe—just maybe—paying their workers more than starvation wages would incentivize workers to reenter the workforce."

Pushing back on the right-wing narrative about the reason for real or perceived labor shortages in some markets nationwide, progressives on Friday told corporations that if they want to hire more people, they'll need to start paying better wages.

Soon after the Labor Department released its April jobs report, the U.S. Chamber of Congress blamed last month's weak employment growth on the existence of a $300 weekly supplemental jobless benefit and began urging lawmakers to eliminate the federally enhanced unemployment payments that were extended through early September when congressional Democrats passed President Joe Biden's American Rescue Plan.  

"No. We don't need to end [the additional] $300 a week in emergency unemployment benefits that workers desperately need," Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said in response to the grumbles of the nation's largest business lobbying group. "We need to end starvation wages in America."

"If $300 a week is preventing employers from hiring low-wage workers there's a simple solution," Sanders added. "Raise your wages. Pay decent benefits."

According to the Chamber's analysis, the extra $300 unemployment insurance (UI) benefit results in roughly one in four recipients taking home more pay than they earned working.

In response to that claim, Sanders' staff director Warren Gunnels said: "If one in four recipients are making more off unemployment than they did working, that's not an indictment of $300 a week in UI benefits. It's an indictment of corporations paying starvation wages." 

Read full report at Common Dreams