Yes votes for Philly public bank, NYC REI workers union


Also: Guaranteed Income Pilot for Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward.

Philadelphia passes public bank law

in one Vote of 15-1, the Philadelphia City Council moved closer to establishing a community-owned public bank. As Next City’s senior business correspondent Oscar Perry Abello recently reported, the mission of the proposed Philadelphia Public Financial Authority is to “support black-owned businesses and other businesses in neighborhoods that have historically lacked access to credit.” Learn more about the potential of public banks in an e-book from Next City.

Workers at Manhattan REI vote to organize

Workers at a New York branch of REI voted overwhelmingly to unionize, according to the New York Times reports.

The Manhattan flagship store is the first of 170 unionized stores, but the co-op is one of many other chains that have seen a campaign of unionization in recent months.

Vice News reports on the company’s anti-union efforts, including mandatory meetings, a hiatus on promotions, and an anti-union podcast with REI CEO Eric Artz.

While employees rate REI highly on fair treatment, workers feel there is a gap between the company’s values ​​and its actions. The workers are demanding, among other things, living wages, guaranteed working hours and health benefits for full-time employees.

“We hope REI will meet us in good faith as we negotiate our first contract while keeping our co-operative values ​​in mind and applying them to workers so we can show everyone that we really go further,” said Claire Chang, a retail clerk in store.

Atlanta’s $13 million guaranteed income program

Atlanta, one of the US cities with the highest income inequality, is the newest city to receive a guaranteed income program, Wabe reports.

This initiative will support hundreds of low-income Black women with monthly payments averaging $850 for the next two years. And the program is set to expand to other parts of Metro Atlanta and rural Georgia.

Several Guaranteed Income pilots have been launched across the country, with Next City reporting on the latest initiatives in New York and Philadelphia as traditional forms of federal relief for low-income families have fallen short of the support people need.

Hope Wollensack, executive director of the Georgia Resilience and Opportunity Fund, the organization running the Atlanta pilot, says, “Those on the lowest incomes often make the best financial decisions, and that choice and action component really reflects how we are confident.” They insist on people being experts on their own lives, and our current programs are not.”

Follow other basic income programs on Next City’s interactive map here.

Solcyre (Sol) Burga was an Emma Bowen Foundation fellow at Next City in the summer of 2021. Burga is completing her degree in Political Science and Journalism at Rutgers University and plans to graduate in May 2022. As a Newark native and immigrant, she hopes to uplift the voices of underrepresented communities through her work.

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