While West Virginia’s economy is improving and some industries are growing, most of the growth it tied to temporary natural gas pipeline construction. In order to get a clear picture of West Virginia’s jobs picture, it is imperative to use the employment data correctly and not to inflate numbers or link them to policies that have little to do with the state’s economic rebound. With state revenues plunging over the last two months, we should all be cautious in assessing our state’s economic picture.
For a more, check out Ted’s blog post, Misusing Data on West Virginia’s Economic Recovery.
With the celebration of Labor Day this week, here’s a snapshot of how West Virginia workers are faring with the decline of union membership over the past few decades. With fewer workers belonging to unions, families are working longer hours for less and are less likely to have a pension plan for their retirement.
Read more and see the other four charts in Ted’s blog post.
This week, WVCBP board member Brian Stanley published an op-ed in the Huntington Herald-Dispatch and the Logan Banner. In it he describes his own work with battling wage theft as a union organizer and cites our report released last week, Wage Theft in West Virginia: Solutions for a Hidden Epidemic.
Here’s an excerpt:
At both the federal and state level, workers should be paid what they earn. Nationally, female workers are more likely to experience wage theft. African American workers suffer wage theft three times the rate of white workers. Workers not covered by a union are twice as likely to experience wage theft. That’s unacceptable to me, and I hope it is unacceptable to every West Virginian. What’s more disturbing to me is a worker working for minimum wage or tips is the most common victim of wage theft. Why? Has our state turned its back on workers? Has the American worker been forgotten?
Read Brian’s full op-ed.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is by far the most effective and reliable anti-hunger program in the United States. In West Virginia nearly 300,000 people rely on SNAP to source food from over 2,000 retailers across the state. The median household benefit is $208 each month, a mere $1.39 per person per meal. A third of all beneficiaries are children under the age of 18. The vast majority of participating households has at least one wage earner, often working in low-paying jobs that maintain them below the qualifying poverty threshold.
The Trump administration published a proposed rule on July 24, 2019 that would eliminate the current flexibility provided to DHHR to administer SNAP and create a restrictive one-size-fits-all program that will have significant social and economic impacts in West Virginia.
The USDA Food and Nutrition Service estimates that approximately 9% of SNAP households will lose access to benefits under the proposed rule change, collectively impacting 5% of the overall funds allocated to the program. Loss of eligibility would be disproportionate among seniors (13.2%) and working families (12.5%).
Read more in this guest blog post written by Josh Lohnes, Food Policy Research Director for West Virginia University’s Food Justice Lab. The WVU Food Justice Lab is an experimental space for research and action focused on challenging food system inequalities. As part of their food security work, Dr. Lohnes and his team estimated the potential impacts in West Virginia of the Trump Administration’s proposed rule on categorical eligibility.
West Virginians for Affordable Health Care invites you to sponsor the Medicaid Matters for West Virginia Summit.
This one-day event will cover Medicaid topics of importance and will allow attendees to share concerns, issues and opportunities in West Virginia.
Ted will be this month’s guest speaker at the League of Women Voters of Jefferson County monthly meeting. He will discuss West Virginia’s enormous economic challenges brought on by low and stagnating wages, lack of population and labor force growth, high rates of poverty, and an energy- based economy that faces boom and bust cycles.
The event is free and open to the public and starts at 7:00PM.
Robert C. Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education
213 North King Street, Shepherd University
Join us October 10 in Summersville, WV for the 2nd annual Food for All conference. This has been a landmark year addressing food insecurity in West Virginia and we are excited to reflect and plan for the year to come.
Great investigative journalism on the dark money attacks on SNAP and the safety net, featuring many of our tireless partners in food security. @KyPolicy @CenterOnBudget
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