Event | Poverty & Income

Low-Wage NY:Pay Raises & Working New Yorkers

The rationale for this higher minimum wage is clear:  Since the end of the Great Recession, the majority of job growth in New York, a notoriously high cost-of-living environment, has been in low-wage employment.  While organized labor and its allies have pushed the "Fight for $15" in response, others have voiced concerns that such raises may result in job losses or stymie entrepreneurship.  Is a dramatic raise in the minimum wage the best way to help low-income workers in New York?  Is the situation here comparable to that in other cities, such as Los Angeles, that have been enacting $15 minimum wage laws? Join us a panel of economists, labor leaders, activists, and policymakers to address these questions and more.  

Jennifer Jones Austin, chief executive officer, Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies. 
Hector Figueroa, president of 32BJ SEIU.
Edmund J. McMahon, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and president of the Empire Center for Public Policy
Paul Sonn, program director, National Employment Law Project.
Kathryn Wylde, president and CEO of the nonprofit Partnership for New York City
Moderated by Darrick Hamilton, associate professor of economics and urban policy, and director of Milano Doctoral Program at The New School. 

Event | Poverty & Income, Income Inequality, National Politics 

Against the Falling Tide: Working Families and the Economy (2011)

As the impact of recession lingers, low-income and working-class Americans struggle against the economic tide. Wages are declining and employment is stagnant. The upcoming 2012 elections only add to the uncertainty. What are the economic prospects for working families in New York and around the country? An insider's experience of White House strategy and policy debates helps us make sense of the last two years, the coming 12 months, and beyond.

Jared Bernstein, senior fellow, Center for Budget and Policy Priorities and former executive director of the White House Task Force on the Middle Class.
Dorian Warren, professor, Columbia University/SIPA
Jeff Smith, professor, The New School

Event | Poverty & Income, New York State Politics, New York City Politics 

The Painful Price of Medicaid (2011) 

The fast-rising cost of Medicaid is one of the most pressing issues facing the governments of New York City and New York State. One in four New Yorkers is served by this system of insurance, which now costs an average of $1 billion per week. Health care for low-income people and long-term care for disabled and older people is more expensive than ever. Medicaid costs are growing faster than the state's budget, and this gap is widening. Governor Andrew Cuomo's new Medicaid Redesign Team made recommendations that would result in nearly $3 billion in savings. With those recommendations now made public, what is the future of Medicaid in New York? And what are the implications for New York City's families?

Jason Helgerson, Medicaid director, State of New York. 
Robert Doar, commissioner NYC Human Resources Administration.
Alyssa Aguilera, community organizer, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest.  
Elizabeth Lynam, vice president, Citizens Budget Committee.
Barbara Lyons, Director of The Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, Kaiser Family Foundation.
Moderated by Anemona Hartocollis, reporter, the New York Times.

Event | Poverty & Income, New York State Politics

Public Pensions: What's The Real Story? (2011)

Conventional wisdom blames generous public-sector pensions for state and local budget deficits and for diverting funds from other essential services. Amid demands that officials roll back pension promises, it's clear the problem--and possible solutions--are not nearly so simple. What's at stake for retirement security and government fiscal stability? A conversation about the history, purpose, costs and benefits of public pensions.

Richard Ravitch, former Lt. Governor, New York State
Ross Eisenbrey, Vice President, Economic Policy Institute
E.J. McMahon, Director, Empire Center for New York State Policy
Michael Mulgrew, President, United Federation of Teachers
Moderated by: Errol Louis, NY1

Event | Poverty & Income, Economic Inequality

The Great Recession: Low-Income Working Women and Economic Inequality (2010)

For the first time in history, women account for half of the U.S. workforce, according to the recent Shriver Report. Even as the recession reshapes the workforce, women are less likely to lose their jobs than men. But is this progress? Women still earn substantially less than men: only 77 cents for every dollar earned by men, up a mere 13 cents from 1963. In New York City, many working women are still struggling with poverty. What effect has the recession had on women's equality in the workplace, and what are the repercussions for low-income working women?

Sue Kelly, former U.S. Representative (R-NY).
Page S. Gardner, founder and president of Women's Voices. Women Vote.
Irasema Garza, president of Legal Momentum, The Women's Legal Defense and Education Fund.
Mark Greenberg, deputy assistant secretary for Policy in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families.
Maggie Sepulveda, Carpenter Local 608/Teacher, Nontraditional Employment for Women (NEW).
Moderated by Valeria Fernández, independent reporter for Feet in Two Worlds.

Work Life, Home Life: Should Government Require Paid Leave? (2010)

About 1.3 million working people in New York City have no paid sick leave, and pressure is mounting on employers to provide it. Local chambers of commerce estimate the cost would be in the billions; labor advocates argue that it is simply a matter of fairness—and the City Council has begun to move on legislation. In a society characterized by often inflexible work options and limited public spending on child care, can family policies in the workplace be improved?

Sherry Leiwant, executive director of A Better Balance.
Sheebani Patel, staff attorney and organizer at Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York.
Nancy Ploeger, president and CEO of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce.
Mary R. Watson, associate professor and chair,  Management Programs at Milano School for Management and Urban Policy.
Moderated by Sharon Lerner, author of The War on Moms: On Life in a Family-Unfriendly Nation.

Event | Poverty

Banking Under the Mattress: Financial Literacy and Unbanked New Yorkers (2010)

A new FDIC study finds that seven of every 20 New York households is underbanked. In most cases, these are low-income, minority, and single-parent households that either have no bank accounts or rely heavily on alternative financial services such as payday lenders and pawn shops. Such families can pay exorbitant fees and interest, are at greater risk of robbery, and often cant borrow because they have no credit history. New York and other cities and states are experimenting with solutions, including low- or no-fee community banking services and financial literacy campaigns. What works? And what should government, nonprofits, and the banking sector do now?

Jonathan Mintz, commissioner of the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs
Cathie Mahon, executive director of the NYC Office of Financial Empowerment
Deyanira Del Rio, associate director of the Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project (NEDAP) 
Edward Kramer, executive vice president of Wolters Kluwer Financial Services
Leslie Parrish, senior researcher at the Center for Responsible Lending
Dean Starkman, managing editor of the Columbia Journalism Reviews The Audit, moderates