Black, Latino Unemployment Spurs Call To Action

Markeshia Ricks Photos Latasha Ransome told a packed City Hall crowd that she has “lived in New Haven all my life. But I’ve never worked in New Haven.”

Ransome (at left) and others delivered a message at a Monday night forum: New Haven has plenty of workers, but too few full-time jobs with a steady income and benefits.

The forum, hosted by the Board of Alders Black and Hispanic Caucus, drew a full house, with people lining the aldermanic chamber’s walls and sitting on the floor.

Caucus Chair and Hill Alder Dolores Colon (pictured) called the lack of employment opportunity for black and Latino people a crisis because of the high number of unemployed and underemployed in those communities. She said despite President Obama touting the continued downward trend in unemployment nationally, and local studies that suggest jobs are to be found in urban centers like New Haven, minority communities are still struggling.

She said that more than 18 percent of black New Haveners are unemployed. For Latinos in New Haven the unemployment rate is more than 20 percent.

Those statistics offer a vivid contrast to other statistics showing jobs returning to the city—but higher-paying white-collar jobs.

“Think about it,” Colon said. “That’s nearly one in five people in our black and Hispanic communities. And this only represents the people who are ‘officially’ considered unemployed. There are many more who are underemployed, or have given up looking for work.”

Many of those precariously employed people in the city are people like Ransome, who lives in the Dixwell neighborhood. Over the last 10 years she has worked in property management as an account clerk, in collection services and as an administrative assistant. She lost her last job in 2013. With the help of New Haven Works, a job-placement agency the alders helped create with city and business leaders, she’s been working a temporary position with the New Haven Housing Authority for about two months.

“If I could work here I could take the bus to work and spend less time commuting,” she said.

Jose Soto (pictured) said having full-time, permanent work would mean that he and his family could move out of their cramped apartment. In 2009, he lost his job with a pharmaceutical company where he’d worked for 14 years when it decided to downsize. The job loss cost his family its house. With the help of New Haven Works he also is working a temporary position, his second, at Yale University. His wife also is in the custodial training program at Yale.  “I’m hopeful that it will turn permanent,” he said of his temporary job. “With a secure job, maybe we can have a new home.”

New Haven Works Director Mary Reynolds said that the organization has 500 people in the city who are trained and ready to work, and over 1,000 people are on a waiting list to get into the program. The labor-affiliated activist group New Haven Rising, one of the event’s organizers, pointed out that there are 83,000 jobs in New Haven, but only 19,000 of those jobs are actually worked by people who live in New Haven. And of those working New Haveners, even fewer work a job that pays a living wage. And out of those, a very small proportion (about 2,000) also live in one of New Haven’s low income neighborhoods.

Erik Clemmons, president and CEO of Connecticut Center for Arts And Technology (ConnCAT), said the way to provide jobs for New Haven residents is to prioritize local hiring.

“There are a lot of people who are skilled and waiting to work,” he said. “But if you want people from New Haven to work you have to make sure the folks you hire are New Haven residents.” Clemmons also suggested that the city and local organizations have to do more to help people create their own businesses, which in turn creates jobs.

Caucus Vice Chair and Newhallville Alder Delphine Clyburn (pictured) urged the city’s employers to help the community turn the corner on unemployment and underemployment.“Now is the time to do something different,” she said. “That means hiring qualified New Haveners and committing to hire others who become qualified in the future.”

Colon said if there are 500 employers in the city who need employees, she hopes those employers have heard the message that there are hundreds of people in New Haven who are qualified and ready to work right now.

“Some are under threat of losing their homes and they’re trying to raise children,” she said. “This job crisis hurts families, and when families hurt the city suffers. There is talent out there and people are eager to work, and eager to work here in New Haven. They don’t want to go to Bridgeport or Wallingford. They want to work here.”

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posted by: robn on March 10, 2015  7:59am

“The labor-affiliated activist group New Haven Rising, on eof hte event’s organizers, pointed out that there are 83,000 jobs in New Haven, but only 19,000 of those jobs are actually worked by people who live in New Haven. And of those working New Haveners, even fewer (about 2,000) work a job that pays a living wage.”

How can this be with Yale U and hospital so unionized?

posted by: Bradley on March 10, 2015  8:19am

Robn, New Haven Rising defines a living wage as $20/hour. Many of the service jobs at Yale and YNHH, while unionized, pay less than this. And many of the workers who earn higher wages choose to live in the suburbs.

posted by: anonymous on March 10, 2015  8:20am

“Under-employment” in the city of New Haven was 32% in 2012, according to this http://www.newhavenindependent.org/archives/upload/2015/01/Markeshia/Jobs_Access_Report_Dec14.pdf
This means 1 in 3 city residents were either unemployed and looking for work, or working part-time but would prefer to work full time if they could.

posted by: Jonathan Hopkins on March 10, 2015  9:01am

http://static.panoramio.com/photos/original/117524239.jpg

According to this analysis, about 9,250 New Haven residents earn a living wage (defined as 20/hr - 40,000/year for an individual) from a job located within the city. I don’t know where the 2,000 number is from.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on March 10, 2015  9:27am

Snake-Oil being sold by Judas Goat leaders.Wake up Black folks.This is why you have no Jobs.

If You Have No Money You Have No Say.

http://youtu.be/0_39ziswzyY

Dr Claude Anderson Black Politicians Are Useless

http://youtu.be/1Fr-OO5HvdM

posted by: McKitt on March 10, 2015  9:32am

I suspect (but have no proof) that most of the individuals working union jobs at Yale do not live in the city. I have a hard time believing that the service jobs pay less than $20/hour; the workers of 34 and 35 are quite well compensated. This isn’t to say that they’re overcompensated, just that I do not think that many of them are below a living wage. For full time union members, the maximum salary per wage grade (so difficulty/education level of job) is given here:

http://www.local34.org/uploads/2/0/5/2/20520884/2012-contract-agreement-summary.pdf

The wages for local 35 are likely lower, but there are fewer employees in local 35 (1,200) and I couldn’t find that one online.

posted by: New Haven Nuisance on March 10, 2015  9:35am

Jonathan Hopkins, 2,000 is the disgustingly low number of jobs which employ New Haven residents, pay a living wage, and are located within the City of New Haven.

posted by: New Haven Nuisance on March 10, 2015  10:01am

Jonathan Hopkins: The 2,000 number comes from the statement that of living wage jobs, which are located in the City of New Haven, and held by city residents, said city residents also “live in one of New Haven’s low income neighborhoods”. So, according to the statistical breakdown which you shared the 2,000 number comes from the 47,452 total number of living wage jobs located within the City of New Haven, of which 4% are held by individuals living in low income New Haven neighborhoods.

posted by: elmcityresident on March 10, 2015  10:06am

robyn,
i work at the hospital and no we’re not unionized only the university and the alot of university positions start at about 20$ every week pay and the option for free healthcare throught the health plan as for the hospital employees alot of us are still struggling at 40,000 a yr with being here over 10yrs

posted by: Wikus van de Merwe on March 10, 2015  10:18am

As long as NH residents keep voting for more of the same they shouldn’t expect anything different.  The city’s jobs situation isn’t going to change until its politics do, and unfortunately for the people who are affected, the people who control the politics in this city aren’t.  Rallies like this are kabuki.

posted by: Jim Berger on March 10, 2015  10:33am

The main thing I came away with from the jobs forum last night was that there are a lot of qualified New Haven people ready to work.  One often hears that employers can’t hire NH residents because they’re “not qualified.”  The data provided by NH Works and the testimony from the many NH workers and job-seekers who spoke tell us otherwise.  The ball now is in the employers’ court; they should hire NH workers and help us all contribute to the city’s prosperity.

posted by: Brian L. Jenkins on March 10, 2015  10:41am

I applaud the thrust to see more local residents employed in the city.  However, where was this concern from these individuals/organizations when DeStefano was mayor for some 20 years?

Should the new administration do more in hiring local residents? Absolutely.  Knowing Mayor Harp as I do, she will exhaust all resources to achieve that very goal.

Moreover, this certainly isn’t a new phenomenon in the city; this has been happening for over 30 years.  It’s just gotten much worse over the past 22 years.

I’m in no way intimating that this sudden interest in hiring locally is somehow connected to a reelection jitters.  But I do find it interesting that the mayor was not in attendance.  Was the mayor a part of the negotiations in advance?  Was there a written plan presented to the mayor by these organizers to execute their interest?  If the answer to those two questions is no, then this was no more than a political stunt to draw attention to these organizations and elected officials with the sole intent to embarrass the mayor.  To parade people in this fashion is not only reprehensible, but downright disgustingly disrespectful.

As former chair of the caucus, I admonished the previous administration (ad nauseam) to focus on the same thing several years back, and the current Chair of the Black & Hispanic Caucus said nothing then.  This isn’t to take a shot at the current chair, but don’t try to assume leadership because the position is now calling for it.  If you can’t lead consistently, then you need to leave leadership alone.  Where’s this type of leadership in protecting a city job in the Poindexter case against Chief Esserman?

Believe me, I truly hope I’m wrong.

posted by: robn on March 10, 2015  11:16am

NHN and Jim Berger,

The article quote I reposted says 2000 New Haveners, not 2000 from a specific neighborhood. The numbers matter because of they’re as inaccurate as they seem, it’s wildly irresponsible propaganda serving only to advertise New Haven Rising.

posted by: Emily G on March 10, 2015  11:53am

Congrats to New Haven Rising on the success of last night’s event! I was sorry to have missed it, and hope the Alders received the message. Hopefully they can put some pressure on business developers, as they come in, to prioritize local hires. I notice a lot of new luxury housing being built in the downtown area - I presume this is meant to meet the needs of an anticipated influx of bio-medical workers for the new lab going up over Rt 34, and other similar developments. We need to make sure that all these new businesses entering the city are reserving jobs for NH residents - and not just positions in maintenance, office admin, and security! We have tons of talented, hard-working, qualified people, let’s put them to work!

posted by: Jim Berger on March 10, 2015  12:26pm

Robn, the 2,000 figure does refer to the poorer neighborhoods: the Hill, Newhallville, Fair Haven. Obviously, not to the whole city. The article was clear on that, I thought.
The point again is that there are many NH residents who are qualified and eager for work. Employers should look to New Haven Works and start hiring. The point is to fight poverty—and racism—immediately. Improve people’s lives; improve the city’s economy.

posted by: HewNaven on March 10, 2015  12:27pm

robn,

Most Yale employees live outside New Haven. If you break it down by class it’s staggering. The majority of Local 35 (service and maintenance) live in New Haven. The majority of Local 34 (clerical and technical) live outside of New Haven. And, of course, the majority of instructors live outside New Haven. Finally, the hospital is NOT unionized.

posted by: New Haven Nuisance on March 10, 2015  12:35pm

Robn,

This data sheet (http://static.panoramio.com/photos/original/117524239.jpg) originally posted by Jonathan Hopkins is where the 2,000 number originates from. The assertion is that New Haven residents who hold a living wage job located in New Haven also “live in one of New Haven’s low income neighborhoods”. The stipulation that someone who holds one of these living wage jobs within the city also “live(s) in one of New Haven’s low income neighborhoods” is important to acknowledge.

The math works out to say that of the “Residents who work the 47,452 Living Wage jobs located in the City of New Haven” 4% live in a “Low Income” New Haven neighborhood which equals 1,898 residents.

It can certainly be a bit confusing to see how this number was reached. It also confused me when I originally looked at the attached data sheet as I made a miscalculation and reached Mr. Hopkins’ number of 9,250 living wage jobs in New Haven held by New Haven residents (I included living wage New Haven jobs held by New Haven residents living in High Income Neighborhoods (8%) and Middle Income Neighborhoods (7%)).

So, with that said, I agree that if the one is not specifically referring to New Haven residents who “live in one of New Haven’s low income neighborhoods” then the statement is false.

The nuanced argument being made is only correct when stated with all of these stipulations and it does appear to be correctly stated in the article above. I am unsure if the article may have been updated since your original comment.

posted by: robn on March 10, 2015  4:08pm

NHN,

The article has been changed (still no strike throughs for edits to an already released story NHI?)

I think it’s obvious and axiomatic that residents of poorer neighborhoods have lower paying jobs but if the point of the events sponsor is to try to set a metric, they’d be better served by putting the numbers in a clear context. I’d like to see that to understand the problem better; like, for instance, stating it in this manner:

X% of working age CT residents have a living wage job, compared with X% of working age NH residents who have a living wage job, compared with X% of working age NH residents (living in poor neighborhoods) who have a living wage job.

Or

Employed working age NH residents (living in poor neighborhoods) are X% of all employed working age NH residents but only hold X% of living wage jobs.

posted by: robn on March 10, 2015  4:20pm

PS

Either we’re reading the DataHaven data incorrectly (I read it the same way as you) or the data is incorrect because the U.S. Census puts the New Haven employment figure at 57,746, way higher than DataHaven’s 43,823.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on March 10, 2015  4:25pm

posted by: Wikus van de Merwe on March 10, 2015 11:18am

As long as NH residents keep voting for more of the same they shouldn’t expect anything different.  The city’s jobs situation isn’t going to change until its politics do, and unfortunately for the people who are affected, the people who control the politics in this city aren’t.  Rallies like this are kabuki.


Homerun!!!

posted by: HewNaven on March 10, 2015  5:17pm

To me the statistic about the
relatively low percentage of nhv’s living wage earners who live in poor neighborhoods may be an indication that those residents are not properly qualified, or are being picked over in favor of outsiders, as some have suggested. It may also be an indication that people are not willing to stick around and fix up their own neighborhood, even after landing a livable wage job. Its much easier to just pick up and move to a stable neighborhood, and that is an equally disturbing trend, if true. For now, it’s just speculation.

posted by: wendy1 on March 11, 2015  10:04am

Yes, this is a dog and pony show…again because Yale is downsizing not hiring in any meaningful way and the USA is collapsing financially.

And Robyn the few who are unionized at Yale (Univ. and hosp.) are poorly defended by a weak, toothless union (34 and 35)  They are a Joke and Yale is cruel.  All of their employees are clinging to their jobs and very fearful.  In this country getting fired is like a death sentence.

New Haven Works means well but is basically just good PR for Yale.  It’s sad and pathetic.  I volunteered there briefly in the beginning but was dismayed by the numbers and Yale’s continued ugly corporate behavior.