This page provides links to the latest postings on Justice and Witness Ministries' Economic Justice pages.
What is Fair Trade (May 12, 2015)
Small farmers produce 70% of the world’s coffee and significant amounts of other food products. Worldwide, over 20 million small farm households, more than 125 million people, depend on agriculture exports for their livelihoods. Fair Trade contributes to sustainable development and improves the lives of small farmers in the global South. Learn more.
Mass Incarceration, Poverty, and Jobs (May 11, 2015)
This new webpage will cover a number of issues related to mass incarceration.
Poverty and Mass Incarceration (April 17, 2015)
There are many links tying poverty to mass incarceration. To break these connections, here are two things we can do. First, let’s eliminate poverty. Although this won’t happen soon, we need to keep this option before us. The reason poverty exists is not economic; we have sufficient resources to eliminate it. People are poor because we fail to enact the public policies that would end poverty. Second, we can “ban the box.” A fairly routine question on many job application forms requires applicants to check a box indicating whether they have a history of arrest or conviction. The question is illegal if it is used to screen out everyone with a record but it is still widely included on job application forms. Work to “ban the box.”
Greasing the Skids to Deeper Economic Distress via Fast Track Legislation (February 19, 2015)
Before Congress considers new trade agreements (and two are currently in the works) they will first seek to pass "Fast Track" legislation to markedly curtail the usual oversight process and ease passage of the FTAs. Previous similar trade agreements have harmed, not promoted, the common good. Congress must thoroughly and carefully evaluate these agreements. Congress must not pass Fast Track.
Inequality -- It doesn't have to be this way (November, 2014)
Growing inequality is not the inevitable consequence of globalization, technological change, an aging population, or anything else. The rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer, and the middle is disappearing as a direct result of policy decisions made by policymakers in Washington, DC, and state legislatures. Read this Thanksgiving-themed commentary.
Read what major theologians and Bible scholars say about economic justice (October, 2014)
A new page on Economics and the Environment. Economic policies and institutions impact our climate. Changes in public policies can make our economy more equitable while also slowing climate change and environmental degradation. (August 4, 2014)
Labor Sunday 2014 provides resources for the Sunday of Labor Day weekend, a day to lift up workers, their contributions and struggles (July 7, 2014)
Corporate Power and Influence boost economic inequality, erode workplace standards, and threatening democracy. (July 6, 2014)
Young Workers face Special Hardships: a new webpage outlining the difficulties these young adults confront (June 2014)
Rising Inequality and Concentrated Wealth Threaten Democracy, a Witness for Justice commentary. (April 24, 2014)
The Trans-Pacific Partnership, a Trade Agreement that is Destructive of God’s People and Planet is an important new resource from JWM.The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a "free trade" agreement currently being negotiated among the U.S. and 11 other countries. But the world needs fair trade, not “free trade.” Our current form of economic globalization, shaped by free trade agreements, is harming God's people, destroying God’s creation, and distorting God’s economy of life. Read more. (April 2014)
A new web page on Pay Equity: the ongoing pay discrimination that women face in the workplace. (April 1, 2014)
Tax Day, April 15: a time to celebrate, lament, and (most of all) make a commitment to tax justice. Tax Day finds many of us with conflicted feelings about paying our taxes, with reasons to celebrate and to lament. May it also be a day when we make a commitment to work for tax fairness: everyone paying their fair share for programs and services that serve the common good and create a world where all God’s people and creation live in the fullness of life. (March 31, 2014)
Links to two new studies from Citizens for Tax Justice, are posted on our Tax Reform page. One examines corporate taxes paid by 288 Fortune 500 corporations (many pay zero). The other assesses a tax reform proposal from the chair of the House of Representatives' Ways and Means Committee (the House committee that handles taxes). The proposal does not meet the desired features of tax reform that the UCC's General Synod approved in July, 2013. (March 7, 2014)
An important new study shows the impact of inequality on death rates: high levels of inequality kill. (March 7, 2014)
The process of crafting the federal budget for fiscal year 2015 (Oct. 2014 - Sept. 2015) has begun with the release of the President's budget proposal. Follow developments on the Federal Budget page. (March 7, 2014)
Our Faith Calls Us to Stand with Farm Workers, a new, short summary linking our faith, the call to do justice, and farm workers. Just in time for Farm Worker Awareness week in March. (February 2014)
Justice-themed films for education and action, a list and description of films: a great way to build community, spark engaging discussions, and motivate people to action.
Follow events and debates concerning the federal budget and let Congress know what you think.
The Sunday of Labor Day Weekend, September 1, is Labor Sunday, a day to lift up workers, celebrate their contributions, and support their struggles. It is also a day to lament with those who have no job or a low-wage job, and a day to commit ourselves to standing with workers who seek justice and dignity. See the new Labor Sunday resources from JWM.
Already in July, it seems likely that Congress will once again be gridlocked over the federal budget. The House of Representatives is proposing more, large and damaging budget cuts which the Senate is unlikely to approve. The end of the fiscal year, September 30, is rapidly approaching. What will happen then?
Pulitzer-prize winning reporter David Cay Johnston provides a shocking illustration our country's inequality.
The Tax System: A Matter of Faith, Fairness, and Flourishing Communities. Confused about tax policy? Want to know who gets the tax breaks? What about corporate taxes? Read JWM’s new resource. Read the UCC General Synod's resolution on taxes, approved in July, 2013.
Sweatshops: Read news reports about one of the largest manufacturing disasters in history, the factory collapse in Bangladesh.
The Federal Budget: Follow the ongoing story of the budget. The House and Senate have begun work on the 2014 budget. The sequester -- the indiscriminate, across-the-board spending cuts-- are in place. What is being cut? As people of faith, we know the federal budget is a moral document that unambiguously reveals, in dollars and cents, our nation’s priorities and concerns. Follow these budget issues, learn about new policy proposals, and find advocacy resources on the Federal Budget page.
Florida Farm workers in the Coalition of Immokalee Workers invite allies to join their March 3-17, 2013, march for fair food. Learn more. Partial scholarships available to cover costs for allies who want to join them.
Wal-Mart workers are standing up, speaking out, and going on strike for dignity, respect, and better working conditions. They need our support, especially on Black Friday, the important big shopping day after Thanksgiving when actions at stores across the country are planned. More info.
A Fair Balance: Reducing Inequality in the United States and Around the World. A new resource from JWM. There is plenty for all if we share. The Church is called to work for a world where there is a “fair balance” between abundance for a few and the needs of many.
Unemployment in the United States continues to be tragically and unacceptably high. But the closely-watched and widely-cited monthly unemployment rate tells only part of the story; the number of people without jobs is actually much higher than indicated in that count. Meanwhile, Congress and many states are cutting back on unemployment benefits and budget plans are projected to bring on another recession. See Unemployment: There's Still a Crisis
Congressional Budget Office Foresees Recession due to Planned Deficit Reduction. The bipartisan and highly regarded Congressional Budget Office projects that if the planned massive reductions in the federal government deficit go into effect next year, the country will fall back into a recession.
Learn about some of the ways that UCC congregations and conferences are working for justice for immigrants.
Labor trafficking, also known as modern-day slavery, refers to the use of force, coercion, fraud, or abduction to exploit a person for profit. It is a crime against humanity and ultimately a sin. Learn about labor trafficking and what you can do to stop it.
The UCC supports farmworkers who are fasting for justice. Members and allies of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, an organization of tomato harvesters in Immokalee, Florida, are fasting for six days to call for justice in the fields, especially from Florida grocery chain Publix. Read more including seminarian Shannon Gorres' blog as she fasts with the CIW.
Recent progress toward the elimination of global poverty and hardship. Two of eight Millennium Development Goals have been met.
The President's Budget Proposal. The Obama Administration recently released its proposal for the federal budget for fiscal year 2013. Read the UCC Collegium of Officers' statement and a analysis of the budget proposal.
The fair trade movement is in crisis. The fundamental purpose of fair trade – to support small farmers in ways that are good for them, their communities, the environment, and consumers – is being challenged. One part of the fair trade movement is supporting weaker, broader standards that would allow even plantation-growth coffee to be certified as fair trade. The other part of the movement wants to maintain standards that will preserve the movement’s original purpose of helping small farmers. Read more about the crisis and how you can support authentic fair trade.
Unemployment. We are told the economy is recovering. Nonetheless there are still millions of people who are jobless or working part time when they want and need full-time hours. The faith community has responded to the economic crisis by creating Faith Advocates for Jobs, an interfaith organization working for job creation and in support the unemployed. Engage your congregation, association, or conference. Propose joining Faith Advocates for Jobs. Seek and receive a commitment from your congregation, association, or conference to advocate for jobs and support the unemployed. Learn more here.
Wage Theft. Unscrupulous employers steal wages from their workers. In any week, over two-thirds of low-wage workers are not paid all the wages they earn. Find resources and learn how you can help end wage theft.
Abuses in the Banking Industry. Additional information and resources on abusive banking practices have been posted here. These resources support the General Synod resolution, Putting our money where our values are: Evaluating church financial relationships. GS encourages all congregations and settings of the UCC to examine their banking relationships to determine if they accord with their values. More information on the Resolution, resources to support an investigation of your existing banking relationships, and how to find new ones more in line with your values.