The Bottom LineThe Bottom Line

Economics in Brief: DOJ Leads Hard Charge Against Redlining

Also, McDonald’s workers join the growing strike movement in the U.S., and more 

(Photo by Eric Prado / CC BY-NC 2.0)

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U.S. Justice Department To Take Action Against Redlining
The Justice Department has announced it will take aggressive action against redlining.

At an Oct. 22 press conference, Attorney General Merrick Garland noted the importance of homeownership in building wealth, Black Enterprise reports, as redlining increases the racial wealth gap. Data from the Brookings Institute shows that the net worth of the average white family is nearly 10 times greater than that of a Black family.

Garland said that the government is already investigating several cases, including one against TrustMark National Bank for which the DOJ claims TrustMark avoided providing financial services to those living in Black and Hispanic neighborhoods in the Memphis area.

The company settled and agreed to pay $5 million in penalties to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Trustmark CEO Duane Dewey said in a statement that the bank “shares the common goals of breaking down barriers to home financing and exploring innovative ways to help residents of underserved areas.” His company has also committed to making changes to its business practices.

McDonald’s Workers Join Growing Strike Movement
McDonald’s workers across the U.S. are planning walkouts to protest harassment at the workplace, ABC News

This marks one of many protests across the nation. Kellogg’s and John Deere workers have also made headlines as they advocate for better wages and stronger protections. For McDonald’s workers, however, this marks the fifth time in the last three years that employees have decided to strike against what they say is a “culture of harassment,” the News & Observer adds.

Workers have made more than 50 complaints against the fast-food giant, triggering civil rights lawsuits and complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

In April, McDonald’s announced that employees would have to undergo sexual harassment training and planned to implement new procedures to report complaints by January 2022. But their employees feel that this is not enough.

“Workers are getting harassed, and some people are scared to speak out because they feel like they might lose their jobs,” Raleigh McDonald’s worker Rita Blalock said in a press release. “Coming together in a union would help because we would have a real voice in our store — not just about abuse, but about wages and safety and everything else.”

Treasury Department Names First Racial Equity Counselor
The former head of philanthropy of JP Morgan Chase is now the Treasury Department’s first counselor for racial equity, Reuters reports.

Janis Bowdler was appointed to this position after the Biden-Harris administration identified a need to create economic policy initiatives that would push for racial equity. Bowdler will work with researchers, activists and advocates as part of an external advisory committee that can better identify barriers to Treasury benefits.

Other changes in the Treasury Department include the appointment of the first Black acting director by former veteran, Ventris Gibson. With this decision, 40% of the Treasury’s appointees are said to identify as people of color, though the department recognizes greater strides need to be made to diversify the general staff.

This article is part of The Bottom Line, a series exploring scalable solutions for problems related to affordability, inclusive economic growth and access to capital. Click here to subscribe to our Bottom Line newsletter.

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Solcyre (Sol) Burga was an Emma Bowen Foundation Fellow with Next City for summer 2021. Burga graduated from Rutgers University with a degree in political science and journalism in May of 2022. As a Newark native and immigrant, she hopes to elevate the voices of underrepresented communities in her work.

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Tags: redliningracial justiceracial wealth gapstrikes

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