Labor Demurs

"The jobs aren't there," unions say. Not everybody agrees that welfare reform is working. One vocal critic is organized labor. More than 80 labor organizations joined in nationwide demonstrations in December to call attention to a study, Welfare Reform: The Jobs Aren't There, which claimed that the odds are 97-1 against a typical welfare recipient finding a job that pays "a living wage." Released by Jobs With Justice, a Washington-based workers' rights group, the report includes a state-by-state breakdown detailing the lack of jobs for the "working poor." In what may be the biggest concern of labor, the study also maintains that the influx of welfare recipients into the low-wage labor market will reduce wages in that sector by 12%. The study was conducted by the Preamble Center for Public Policy, a nonpartisan Washington research group.

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