Undermining Excluded Worker solidarity reflects anti-Blackness

Photo: Members of the Excluded Worker coalition from No Justice No Pride and HIPS speaking out for the needs of sex workers at the Don’t Exclude Me rally.   By Eliana Rondon, DC JWJ Organizer Excluded workers consist of tens of thousands of DC residents—including those who are undocumented, sex workers, day laborers, and returning citizens. Excluded workers have all been locked out of unemployment benefits and other cash assistance. Despite our advocacy to include all individuals being locked out, Chairman Mendelson  insists that the  funds intended for all excluded workers to undocumented workers only. The DC Council must amend the Budget Support Act to include all excluded worker.  Undocumented excluded workers only account for part of the communities we are fighting for. The  undocumented residents in DC includes many races. However, of the US-born excluded workers are overwhelmingly Black. When solutions for excluded workers only include undocumented workers, it excludes Black excluded workers from the funds. The Council continues to refer to the excluded workers’ funds as only intended for undocumented residents, despite the fact undocumented individuals are not the only communities excluded. Reducing the language from excluded worker to undocutoment worker disregards the needs of DC Black communities. The language used by the council is anti- black and demonstrates systematic racism. Anti-Blackness means more than just racism against Black people. It’s a structure that demonstrates society’s inability to recognize  the humanity of Blacks. Anti-Blackness voids Blackness of value, while systematically diminishing Black people and their problems.    Underneath this anti-Black racism is the covert structural and systemic racism, which systematically  mandates the socioeconomic status of Blacks in America. The...

DC JWJ statement on SCOTUS decision ending LGBT discrimination in the workplace

Yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled to protect transgender and queer people from discrimination at work. As a worker justice organization that recognizes the intersections of our struggles, we breathe a sigh of relief and then take a deep breath to acknowledge there is more to do. We affirm that Black Lives Matter and center the precarity of the lives of Black trans women. We hold of up the names of Ashanti Carmon and Zoe Spears, two Black trans women who were murdered this year just outside of Washington, DC. On this 51st anniversary of the Stonewall riots and in “pride month,” we recognize that it is the fearless organizing and visibility of and by trans and queer people of color that have led us to this moment. At DC JWJ, we believe that there is no place for discrimination of queer, trans, and gender nonconforming workers. And of course, simply preventing discrimination is not enough. Workplaces must be welcoming. Policies must reflect our diverse families. Solidarity must include all gender identities and expressions. We know that our bodies, hearts, and minds are our own, and do not belong to the courts or laws to define. For too long, our legal system has not protected queer and trans people, instead criminalizing and punishing. DC JWJ is proud to stand with the trans women of color who are leading the Decrim Now campaign to decriminalize sex work in Washington,...

DC JWJ statement on wage theft settlement at Matchbox

DC Jobs With Justice applauds Attorney General Racine and his office for ensuring Matchbox workers are fairly paid. Unfortunately, wage theft is rampant in the restaurant industry, including in well respected establishments like Matchbox. Nationally and within the District, bussers tend to be Latinx immigrants, who face additional barriers to accessing fairness in the workplace. The OAG has demonstrated once again a commitment to strategic enforcement of DC’s labor laws by focusing enforcement action on key industries where wage theft is widespread, expanding individual complaints to company-wide investigations, and pursuing large companies. We are glad that to see that 100 workers have been made whole, and look forward to the day when wage theft is over in Washington,...

Don’t Exclude Me

DC Excluded Workers Need $30 Million to Survive the Economic Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic RSVP to the Don’t Exclude Me action June 29th – 9:00 AM – 10:30 AM – Freedom Plaza DC is home to over 30,000 residents we know cannot access federal assistance through unemployment insurance and/or the federal stimulus. The DC FY21 budget must include cash assistance for those excluded by the federal government so that they too can survive the prolonged health and economic crisis through next year. DC is Home to Workers in Dire Need of Support Tens of thousands of DC residents are excluded from federal unemployment insurance (UI) relief efforts. This includes undocumented workers, day laborers, sex workers, street vendors, people doing hair out of their homes, returning citizens, and other informal economy workers. The vast majority of these DC residents are low-income workers who do not have the savings needed to get by without work for many months. Excluded workers are overwhelmingly Black and immigrant residents who have also been among the hardest hit by COVID-19. Cash Assistance is Urgently Needed for Excluded Workers In late March, Congress passed a measure that softened COVID-19’s economic blow to millions of Americans, including one-time direct payments of up to $1,200 for most adults and an additional $500 for each child under age 17. Congress also approved four months of federally-funded Unemployment Insurance (UI) payments of $600 per week that will be in addition to state UI benefits that jobless workers receive. In addition, they established Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)—a program for people who are ineligible for UI, such as those who have...

DC JWJ COVID Webinars – April 2020

English Webinar: DC JWJ’s most recent webinar with Bread for the City, Working Families Party, Legal Aid Society of DC, DC Kincare Alliance, and DC Fiscal Policy Institute. video Recent federal and local legislation have made important changes such as: Expanded unemployment benefits Changes to how we access federal assistance New protections against technology cut-offs New procedures for elections   Informacion en espanol DC Trabajos con Justicia/DC Jobs with Justice, Mary’s Center, Washington Lawyers Committee y Bread for the City presenta informacion importante para la comunidad. vídeo Los temas incluyen: – nuevas protecciones para los residentes de DC – cómo acceder a la asistencia del gobierno – cómo cuidarse y detener la propagación del coronavirus – cómo participar en las elecciones de DC para ciudadanos...