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CEA Joins Call for a Living Wage, Paid Family Leave

Many labor unions are advocating improved conditions for working families this legislative session, and the CEA Board of Directors formally joined them recently by passing resolutions in support of raising the minimum wage and ensuring paid family leave.

“When children don’t have a safe home, enough to eat, or regular medical care they’re not able to focus on academics when they come to school,” says CEA President Jeff Leake. “When parents have to work two or three jobs to pay the rent they don’t have time to read to their children, to help with homework, or to attend school events. Ensuring a living wage would help Connecticut families provide a brighter future for their children.”

Studies have also found that when families’ financial situation improves their children experience improved emotional and behavioral health.

Connecticut’s minimum wage of $10.10 an hour is currently the second lowest in New England even though the state has some of the highest cost of living areas in the region.

In encouraging the state to extend paid family leave to all workers, the CEA resolution also encourages employers to provide flexible work schedules and paid leave so that parents and guardians can attend parent-teacher conferences and school-related activities.

“We know that family engagement is key to students’ success at school, yet many families face obstacles that prevent them from being involved in their children’s education,” Leake says. “We need policies to break down those barriers and help close the achievement gap.”

Below are the resolutions passed by the CEA Board of Directors.

Resolution in Support of a Living Wage for Connecticut Workers

Whereas 9.6% of CT’s population lives below the poverty line;

Whereas 12.4% of CT’s children under 18 live in families who had incomes below the poverty line;

Whereas 15.7 % of African Americans living in CT are living below the poverty line;

Whereas 21.0% of Latino residents of CT are living below the poverty line;

Whereas the number of Connecticut households unable to afford life’s basic necessities far exceeds the official federal poverty statistics;

Whereas recognizing that other unions, faith organizations, and community organizations are increasingly joining in a Fight for $15 movement;

Whereas recognizing that this movement is growing to include underpaid workers across the service sector such as home care workers, hospital workers, adjunct professors, substitute teachers and others; and

Whereas in addition, there is a strong business case that can be made for paying workers a decent living wage. Low wages for workers result in increased turnover rates, increased absenteeism, and overall increased staffing costs; now, therefore, be it

Resolved, that the Connecticut Education Association will commit to supporting the $15/hour movement in CT at the bargaining table, in community campaigns, in support for state legislation, member education, and in our campaigns to elect pro-worker representatives.


Resolution to Achieve Paid Family Leave in CT

Whereas one in four mothers in the US returns to work just 10 days after childbirth;

Whereas the United States stands alone as the only industrialized country with no national paid family leave policy;

Whereas one in six people spend an average of 20 hours every week taking care of sick or elderly family;

Whereas twenty-six weeks of paid leave would increase US women’s labor force participation to the tune of a 5% increase in GDP;

Whereas ten weeks of paid maternity leave reduces infant mortality by 10%;

Whereas paid leave in the U.S. is an elite privilege – only 6% of people working low-wage jobs have access to any paid family leave;

Whereas schools around the nation have found increased successful parent and guardian involvement in the education of their children leads to better outcomes in student achievement and stronger schools;

Whereas changing demographics in CT’s population, language difficulties, and economic stresses make it more difficult for parents and guardians to attend parent-teacher conferences and respond to their children’s needs at school; and

Whereas flexible work schedules and the availability of paid parent and guardian leave would provide meaningful opportunities for parents, guardians, and their families to learn how to help their children succeed in school; now, therefore, be it

Resolved that the Connecticut Education Association:

  1. strongly supports initiatives to extend paid family leave for all workers;
  2. encourages employers to adopt flexible work schedules and paid parent and guardian leave for the purpose of attending a parent-teacher conference or a school-related activity;
  3. will work with its local affiliates and other unions and advocates to determine the best approaches, including legislative and/or regulatory changes and collective bargaining, for achieving paid leave in CT.
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