In her latest column appearing in the New York Times, AFT President Randi Weingarten writes about what poverty in America looks like today, a half-century after President Lyndon B. Johnson, in conjunction with civil rights, religious and labor leaders, commenced the war on poverty. Unfortunately, economic uncertainty has only grown, she says. "The housing crisis, the lengthy recession, wage stagnation and a 'recovery' in which the well-paying jobs that evaporated have been replaced by low-wage, contingent jobs, have led to more Americans slipping down the rungs of the economic ladder."
Justice demands that hardworking people must have access to a living wage, Weingarten maintains. "It means that great educational opportunity must be the standard for all students in all our schools. It means that paid sick leave must not be the province of only the well-to-do and those who still have a union contract that provides for it. It means we must remove obstacles to forming and joining unions, which built America's middle class and are key to rebuilding it."