EJC and its coalition partners have racked up several advocacy victories in recent years:
- In 2011, the D.C. Council introduced and passed a bill to amend D.C.’s “First Source” law that included several recommendations of the EJC advocacy staff. EJC advocacy staff also helped an unemployed worker to place an opinion piece in Today’s Workplace Blog and organized EJC volunteers and clients in a grassroots effort to the D.C. Council in favor of the bill, which was passed unanimously. The new law provides for stronger enforcement of longstanding requirements that 51% of new hires for most city contracts will be district residents and established a Workforce Intermediary to help connect unemployed residents with training that actually leads to better jobs. Because of these efforts, it will be easier for unemployed District residents find work.
- EJC, the Restaurant Opportunities Center-DC, and Jews United for Justice marked the second year anniversary of the Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act by organizing DC’s first ever Carrotmob – a form of activism that allows consumers to use their collective buying power to reward businesses for their socially responsible practices. The term comes from the phrase “use the carrot, not the stick.” The purpose of the Carrotmob was to educate workers and employers about the law and raise awareness that many workers, including tipped restaurant workers, are currently excluded from the sick and safe leave law. On November 13, 2010, the EJC, along with nearly 100 community members, “mobbed” the restaurant Teaism, which supports the extension of paid sick days to all workers. Council member Tommy Wells presented Teaism owners with the Golden Carrot Award in support of the restaurant’s environmentally friendly policies and provision of health care.
- EJC was also instrumental in getting the D.C. Council to pass the Unemployment Insurance Reform Act, which expands eligibility and extends the deadline to file an appeal when benefits are denied, among other protections for unemployed workers. These changes provided approximately $3 million to an estimated 8,500 people and qualified the District to receive $18 million in federal stimulus funding. The District now has one of the strongest safety nets in the country to help unemployed workers. In July, the EJC organized a breakfast briefing with Council member Michael Brown and a panel of community members to discuss the new law. EJC also helped pass Bill A15-0418, which made it easier for victims of domestic violence to get unemployment compensation.
- EJC secured improvements to D.C.‘s One-Stop job service and job training centers by conducting a “testing” project, along with Wider Opportunities for Women, which revealed numerous problems and allowed EJC to enter into a dialogue with D.C. Department of Employment Services officials.
- EJC worked in coalition with other groups in D.C. to pass the Language Access Act, which improves translation and second language services in the D.C. government for those for whom English is a second language.
- As a core member of the D.C. Living Wage Coalition, EJC successfully advocated for legislation that provided a living wage level of $11.75, now $12.50, for workers employed by companies with contracts with the D.C. government.
For more information on EJC’s victories, see these media reports:
11-3-11 – EJC client and WAGE member Calvin Moore guest blogs for Workplace Fairness on the reform of First Source legislation: http://www.todaysworkplace.org/2011/11/03/d-c-council-finally-acts-to-help-d-c-residents-get-good-jobs/
5-31-11 – The Georgetowner reports on an EJC client who won $6 million: http://www.georgetowner.com/articles/2011/may/31/dc-restaurant-worker-wins-6m-abuse-case/
Washington CityPaper reports on the problems with DC’s workers’ compensation system. The EJC and IWA member Gaynell Nixon are mentioned: http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/citydesk/2011/05/11/d-c-wants-to-know-workers-comp-or-workers-con/
3-24-2011 – Report on the rise in job discrimination with mention of the EJC: http://www.thegrio.com/opinion/blacks-need-not-apply-report-shows-rise-in-job-discrimination.php?page=1
2-8-2011 – Washington Post editorial about DC’s First Source employment law reform mentions the EJC’s work on the subject: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/08/AR2011020805439.html