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What Punch Pizza learned from raising its wages

  • For Punch co-owners Soranno and John Puckett, however, the decision to raise pay wasn't political. It was simply a strategy to attract and retain quality workers who would, in turn, create a better experience for customers.
  • Related: Reframing the Minimum-Wage Debate

Ibrahim Hirsi, MinnPost you can follow Evergreene Digest on Twitter. years after Punch Pizza raised its minimum wage for entry-level employees, sales and job applicants have increased significantly.  MinnPost photo by Ibrahim Hirsi

10/26/16 | In 2013, Punch Neapolitan Pizza took a step that many companies wouldn't — or couldn't — take: It increased the minimum wage for all its workers to $10 an hour.   

In January of the following year, Punch co-owner John Soranno found himself in Washington, D.C., where President Barack Obama introduced the restaurant chain to the nation during the State of the Union address and commended the entrepreneur for raising wages and calling on businesses across the country to follow suit. writer Ibrahim Hirsi covers workforce and immigration issues for MinnPost.

Full story … 


Reframing the Minimum-Wage Debate, David Howell, the American Prospect

Why “no job loss” is the wrong standard for setting the right wage floor.


No Passes for Stereotyping — Of Any Kind

A coal miner's boot represents the life and work that once went on inside the St. Nicholas Coal Breaker, which once processed 12,500 tons of coal per day. It closed in 1972. Now, in the small northeastern Pennsylvania town of Manahoy City, more than 17 percent of the population is living below the poverty line. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)

Trump has made a "safe space" for bigotry. Opposing him shouldn't cause us to engage in a different brand of belittling.

John Russo and Sherry Linkon, Moyers & Company If you like reading this article, consider joining the crew of all reader-supported Evergreene Digest by contributing the equivalent of a cafe latte a month--using the donation button above—so we can bring you more just like it.

 13, 2016 | When Mitt Romney dismissed the 47 percent of voters who, he predicted, would support Barack Obama “no matter what” as “victims” who depend on government assistance, liberal critics called foul. The quote, caught on video by a bartender at a Florida fundraiser in September 2012, reinforced Romney’s image as an elitist whose interests were firmly aligned with the wealthy. Not surprisingly, Democrats repeatedly used the line against Romney, and while we can’t blame his defeat in that year’s election on that one line, it sure didn’t help, especially in Rust Belt states like Ohio.

Last Friday, Hillary Clinton said the following:

You know, just to be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. They’re racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up. He has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people – now have 11 million. He tweets and retweets their offensive, hateful, mean-spirited rhetoric. Now some of these folks, they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America. But the other basket – and I know this because I see friends from all over America here – I see friends from Florida and Georgia and South Carolina and Texas – as well as, you know, New York and California–but that other basket of people are people who feel that the government has let them down, the economy has let them down, nobody cares about them, nobody worries about what happens to their lives and their futures, and they’re just desperate for change. It doesn’t really even matter where it comes from. They don’t buy everything he says, but he seems to hold out some hope that their lives will be different. They won’t wake up and see their jobs disappear, lose a kid to heroin, feel like they’re in a dead end. Those are people we have to understand and empathize with as well.

John Russo is the former co-director of the Center for Working-Class Studies and coordinator of the Labor Studies Program at Youngstown State University

and Sherry Linko, a professor of English at Georgetown University and a faculty affiliate of the Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor, edits the blog Working-Class Perspectives and is working on a book about the literature of deindustrialization. 

Full story … 

Minnesota nurses strike at critical juncture

  • “All of the struggles of the working class—against attacks on wages and benefits, and against war, police killings and other forms of state repression—must be united in one common struggle, through the building of a mass political movement of the working class whose aim is to replace the bankrupt capitalist system with socialism.” --Socialist Equality Party (SEP) presidential candidate Jerry White
  • Related: Reframing the Minimum-Wage Debate

Our Reporting Team, World Socialist Web Site Socialist Equality Party (SEP) presidential candidate Jerry White with striking nurses 

13 September 2016 | The strike by nearly 5,000 nurses at Allina Health hospitals in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area of Minnesota has entered its second week.

The struggle has reached a critical juncture. Nurses have demonstrated their determination to beat back Allina’s attack on their healthcare benefits and dangerously increase their workloads. In the face of the company strikebreaking operation and slanders by the corporate-controlled media, the vast majority of nurses remain militant and defiant.

World Socialist Web Site is published by the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI)

Full story … 


Reframing the Minimum-Wage Debate, David Howell, the American Prospect

Why “no job loss” is the wrong standard for setting the right wage floor.




You Can Stop the Debt Trap of Payday Loans  We have just 3 weeks left to tell the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to #StopTheDebtTrap for good by creating strong rules against predatory payday lending. Raise your voice with us by submitting a comment today. To stay on top of important articles like these, sign up here to receive the latest updates  from all reader supported Evergreene Digest. 13, 2016 | One car wreck. A broken neck. A family struggling to make ends meet. Is this the time to be charging people 300% interest? In a moment of need and desperation, is this a way to treat people? As a pastor I know that robbing people when they need a small dollar loan is not right.

We have just 3 weeks left to tell the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to #StopTheDebtTrap for good by creating strong rules against predatory payday lending. Raise your voice with us by submitting a comment today.

Many people in my church have gotten swept in the cycle of debt that comes with payday lending. Tammie, a parishioner at my church, got in a horrible car accident and broke her neck. Brian and Tammie couldn’t make ends meet once they fell down to one income and took out a payday loan. That loan spiraled them into a cycle of debt and shame that haunted them for years. Brian says, “It wasn’t just the money – it was the shame and loneliness we felt every time the money was taken from our bank account.” We prayed together, but we also started working to change the laws. Change the system so that the moment that families are in need isn’t the time when they are taken advantage of.

We in Minnesota know that this kind of predatory lending is just plain wrong.

We have just 3 weeks left to tell the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to #StopTheDebtTrap for good by creating strong rules against predatory payday lending. Raise your voice with us by submitting a comment today.

ISAIAH has been fighting to change the rules both in our state and across the country to make sure that everyone gets a fair and just loan.  As people of faith, we need to make sure that nobody endures such spiritual, social and mental devastation all so that greedy payday lenders can make an unjust profit. And we have an opportunity to do that today. Take five minutes right now to write a personalized comment to the CFPB telling them why your faith calls for an end to predatory debt-trap lending.

We are closer than ever to stopping the worse aspects of these loans. But we need you to take action. Join me in flooding Directory Cordray and the CFPB with comments from the faith community. Now is the time to let your voice be heard!

Resource: Faith for Fair Lending 

In faith & solidarity,

Pastor Paul Slack
New Creation Church
President, ISAIAH

Reply to Kate Hess Pace, ISAIAH <>

PS - Another way you can help #StopTheDebtTrap is by watching and sharing this short video of stories from allied pastors’ and parishioners’ in Texas. Then invite your friends and family to submit comments to the CFPB too.

PPS - Check out more payday lending stories at

Act Now to Stop the Debt Trap!