End Mass Criminalization of Black and Brown Youth

End Racism and Discrimination

End Homelessness Now

Expand and Protect Social Security

Support Labor, Jobs for All

The People's Budget

Gender-Neutral Treatment - The Equal Rights Amendment

Wednesday, 25 March 2015 00:00

Nearly 200 Groups Urge President Obama to Take Executive Action Adopting Fair-Chance Hiring Reforms for People with Records

Written by Mitchell Hirsch | NELP

In a letter to be presented to the White House today, nearly 200 civil rights, faith-based organizing, criminal justice, and social justice reform groups are calling on President Obama to take immediate executive action to ensure that federal agencies and contractors remove unnecessary barriers to employment for qualified job candidates who have an arrest or conviction in their past.

“Now is the time to take executive action to open employment opportunities for the growing numbers of Americans who have been unfairly locked out of the job market because of a record,” urges the letter, which is part of an initiative organized by All of Us or None, a membership organization of the formerly incarcerated; the PICO National Network, the nation’s largest faith-based organizing network; and the National Employment Law Project (NELP), an advocacy group for low-wage workers and the unemployed.

The letter builds on growing bipartisan momentum around the country for fair-chance hiring reforms.  Fourteen states, the District of Columbia, and 100 cities and counties have embraced so-called “ban the box” hiring policies, as documented in a recent NELP report (the “box” refers to the check-box that asks about conviction history on job applications).  The initiative was endorsed in a recent New York Times editorial, which concluded, “These measures would bring the federal government much closer to becoming a ‘model employer.’”  

In addition to presenting the letter today, representatives of NELP, PICO, All of Us or None, and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice will meet with White House and Labor Department officials to urge the President to use his executive authority to take immediate action to adopt fair-chance hiring policies.  On Thursday, criminal justice reformers from around the country, including lawmakers, elected officials, academics, and advocates, will convene in the nation’s capital for the Bipartisan Summit on Criminal Justice Reform.  The conference will feature a diverse slate of speakers, including Pastor Mike McBride, director of PICO’s LIVE FREE campaign to stop gun violence and mass incarceration of young people of color, and Georgia Republican Governor Nathan Deal, who recently signed an executive order applying ban-the-box to the state’s hiring process. 

Among the early supporters of the initiative were the American Civil Liberties Union and The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights—two organizations with a deep commitment to criminal justice and racial justice issues. 

Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, stated, “Decades of over-criminalization have disproportionately harmed communities of color, leaving millions of Americans with lifelong barriers to economic security.  In fact, a young Black man is more likely to be incarcerated than employed.  A fair-chance hiring executive order would allow qualified, rehabilitated job-seekers with records a fair shot at federal jobs and the opportunity to contribute to our communities.”

Ruthie Epstein, legislative policy analyst at the American Civil Liberties Union, said, “Hiring practices that severely limit people with criminal records from consideration for employment make it that much harder for them to get back on their feet, and often result in them entering a revolving door back into the criminal justice system. It’s time for the federal government to step up as a model employer by expanding access to federal jobs for qualified workers who have past arrests or convictions.”

Currently, 181 groups, representing a broad cross-section of organizations and individuals committed to fair hiring of people with arrest and conviction histories, have signed in support of the initiative and are urging immediate executive action.  The signers include groups that represent formerly incarcerated people, multi-racial and multi-religious faith-based communities, the labor and business communities, and model reentry programs, as well as civil rights leaders, criminal and social justice reform experts, and leading activists and scholars.

Nearly one in three adults in the United States has a criminal record that will show up on a routine criminal background check, creating a serious employment barrier for communities of color hit hardest by decades of over-criminalization.  A federal-level fair-chance hiring policy would have far-reaching impact, as nearly one in four U.S. workers is employed by a federal contractor, a subcontractor, or the federal government.  Major national corporations, such as Walmart, Target, and Home Depot, have already adopted fair-chance hiring policies.  President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Task Force also endorsed fair-chance hiring policies.

Read 6384 times Last modified on Wednesday, 25 March 2015 16:41

Latest Economic and Social Justice News

  • 1

Willie Nelson - Keeping the Postal Service Alive

Email President Obama Stop the Dakota Access Pipeline

Featured News

  • Veterans Arrive at Standing Rock to Act as 'Human Shields' for Water Protectors +

    As tensions grow in North Dakota, with multiple eviction orders facing the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in their battle against Read More
  • Michigan Fights To Avoid Delivering Water To Flint Residents +

    The ongoing crisis has left the city without safe drinking water for over two years, but the state claims water Read More
  • The System IS Rigged!—The Electoral College and the 2016 Election +

    Donald Trump was right: the system is rigged! But it is rigged for the Republicans, not the Democrats, for conservatives, Read More
  • BREAKING: Cop Who Shot Keith Scott on Video Will Not Be Charged +

    The Charlotte police officer who killed Keith Lamont Scott will not be charged. In a news conference on Wednesday, R. Andrew Read More
  • Army Corps Says It Won’t Forcibly Evict Standing Rock Water Protectors, But Refuse To Elaborate +

    In a follow-up of its letter to leaders of the Standing Rock Sioux and Cheyenne River Sioux Tribes, the U.S. Read More
  • DAPL Investors Getting Antsy: If Pipeline Doesn’t Move Oil by January First the Contract EXPIRES +

    Though water protectors have held their ground at Standing Rock against the Dakota Access pipeline for months now, they need Read More
  • WV Supreme Court: No Pipeline Surveys for Private Gain +

    West Virginia property owners won an important case at the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals on Tuesday when that Read More
  • Clinton Campaign Joins Jill Stein’s Recount Of Votes In Wisconsin +

    Hillary Clinton’s campaign on Saturday announced they would participate in former Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein’s recount of the Read More
  • Sioux Tribe Leader Responds to Army Corps Eviction Letter With Ominous Warning to US Gov’t +

    In response to the altogether shocking announcement the Army Corps of Engineers will be evicting water protectors from the Oceti Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 14
  • 15
  • 16
  • 17
  • 18
  • 19
  • 20
  • 21
  • 22

Economic and Social Justice Calls

  • 5-4-2016 Economic and Social Justice Call
    The team explores the concept, economic theories and realities of achieving Full Employment in the current economy. Guests include Conor Williams, the secretary of the Transitional Jobs Collaborative in Milwaukee and Michael Darner, Executive Director of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
  • 02-03-2016 Economic & Social Justice
    Listen to this month's call led by Jim Carpenter as we discuss the state of our current economy, the impact of poor economic choices, and the other factors that play into the declining situation around the country, and in the world in this open and guided conversation.
  • 01-06-2016 Economic & Social Justice
    PDAction Board Member Donald Whitehead, and former Ex. Dir. of the Coalition for the Homeless leads the discussion on homelessness, with input from Joel Segal, PDAmerica founding member and National Director of the Justice Action Mobilization Network. Special focus is given to the housing crisis, the role of the banks, programs used by other countries to alleviate the problem, as well as the fact that women are the most adversely affected by this issue. H Con Res 98 - Resolve to Eliminate Homelessness - has been introduced in Congress by Rep. Alma Adams (NC-12) and is endorsed on this call.