In light of a nation-wide effort to meet the needs of working parents and their children, JOTF co-hosted the “State of Maryland's Kids & Working Families” forum May 29 at the Annie E. Casey Foundation in Baltimore. The event served to inform the White House Summit on Working Families, held in Washington, D.C. in June, about the challenges facing working families in Maryland.
Participants and speakers focused on the challenges of surviving on minimum wage and caring for a family without access to paid sick days. Those concerns were recorded and taken to the Washington summit by a group of Maryland delegates.
Jason Perkins-Cohen, JOTF’s executive director, talked about the importance of creating policies, both at the state and national level, to support families, regardless of income or job description.
“The ability to care for yourself and your kids has nothing to do with the number of degrees you have or the digits on your paycheck,” he said.
Other forum speakers included Latifa Lyles, director for the US Department of Labor, Women’s Bureau; Elizabeth Sachs, senior advisor to the secretary of the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation; Carol Joyner, director for the Labor Project for Working Families; Becky Wagner, director for Advocates for Children and Youth, as well as local workers and business owners.
Amanda Rothschild, a managing owner at the Baltimore café, Charmington’s, told the audience about her decision to pay employees good wages and provide paid sick days. Rothschild explained how these benefits show employees they are valued and with that comes low turnover and increased morale
“I believe the key to progressive change and labor laws is encouraging small business owners to use their voice,” Rothschild said. “We need to teach business owners that they can make a difference and encourage them to share their stories.”
Event hosts included JOTF, Advocates for Children and Youth, Maryland State Education Association, Public Justice Center, United Workers and Working Matters – The Maryland Campaign for Paid Sick Days.