Shar Habibi, Research and Policy Director of In the Public Interest (ITPI), The Partnership for Working Families’ resource center on privatization and responsible contracting, spoke on a July 27 panel at the Young Elected Officials Network National Convening. This gathering brought together several hundred young elected progressive leaders from around the country. She was joined by allies from the United Food & Commercial Workers and the National Domestic Workers Alliance.
The panel, entitled “Defending Workers and Families” included a presentation from Shar Habibi discussing how government outsourcing harms working families and threatens middle class jobs. It highlighted a few key ways that privatization degrades middle class jobs including the loss of wages and benefits and the increased risk of safety, health, and labor violations that occur once a public service is under private control. As examples from the presentation showed, government outsourcing often amounts to an outsourcing of poverty. When public services are privatized, the substantial decrease in workers’ wages and benefits often results in poverty-level jobs, disproportionately affecting communities of color.
The presentation concluded with policy recommendations that can be found in ITPI’s recently released Taxpayer Empowerment Agenda, which would empower working families, provide fair compensation, improve local economies, and protect local communities. To read more about this policy proposals, as well as ITPI’s other work, visit their website.