Driving the agenda: EPI’s 2016 accomplishments

“There is something very odd that it took Donald Trump’s candidacy to have a lot of people discover that there is a working class out there that is hurting and needs help—and Larry [Mishel] and EPI have been the conscience of this city for a long time in calling people’s attention to the condition of American workers, and we are grateful to you.”

E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post

In 2016, EPI increased its reach as a go-to source for the print media, with The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal turning to EPI’s research on a weekly basis. EPI was cited nearly 1,500 times by influential news outlets including The AtlanticBloomberg, The Washington PostThe New York Times, NPR, Marketplace, USA Today, and Politico. EPI was able to shape the narrative on many key issues in 2016, including economic narrative for the 2016 election, the stagnation of workers’ wages over the past decade, the economic arguments for raising the minimum wage, the economic arguments for a bold child care solution, the role of the Federal Reserve, overtime pay, and more.

EPI research is widely reported.

EPI research reached a wide audience in 2016:

EPI experts appear frequently on radio and television.

In addition to media coverage of EPI’s research, EPI experts have been featured on television and radio news segments on outlets including CNN, C-SPAN, PBS Newshour, CNBC, and Bloomberg.

EPI experts influence policymakers and shape the economic narrative.

The following are highlights of EPI’s impact on economic policy conversations in 2016:

  • On February 5, 2016, EPI received the 2016 Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) Partner of the Year award at the Progressive Congress Strategy Summit in Baltimore. An EPI Policy Center analysis of the CPC fiscal 2017 budget shows that the CPC’s proposal would boost GDP by 3 percent and create 3.6 million jobs over the first two years through restoring fairness to the tax code and investing $565 billion to spur job creation.
  • On June 9, 2016, EPI’s President Lawrence Mishel delivered testimony before the Democratic National Convention Platform Drafting Hearing. Click here to watch testimony. Click here for a transcript of Mishel’s remarks.
  • When Donald Trump cited EPI trade research in June 2016, EPI President Lawrence Mishel shot back with a statement saying that “Trump’s latest take on trade is a scam.” Mishel pointed out that Trump supports the traditional corporate agenda of tax cuts for corporations and the rich—and noted that Trump has neglected to acknowledge the Republican Party’s leading role in disempowering workers over the last four decades. Mishel’s response was featured in The Washington Post and The American Prospect.
  • In July 2016, EPI’s Robert Scott critiqued Donald Trump’s use of EPI research in a USA Today column, writing that Trump’s claim that “the negotiation of great trade deals is the quickest way to bring our jobs back” is just wrong.
  • Vice President Joe Biden cited Union decline lowers wages of nonunion workers in his Labor Day weekend speech in Warren, Ohio:

“The Economic Policy Institute just put out a 57 page report that wonks like me end up reading… Here’s the conclusion of the paper: If organized labor was as strong today as it was in 1979, the whole country would be doing better.” Watch the video.

The vice president also tweeted out the report.

“Just last week … (a) study came out, that confirms what we already knew. When more workers are in unions, wages are higher, and not just for union members, but for all workers.” Watch the video.

  • In August 2016, the EPI Policy Center sent an email asking subscribers to encourage Congressional leaders to reject Rep. Kurt Schrader’s Overtime Reform and Enhancement Act, which would delay the Department of Labor’s new overtime rule. With the help of Daily Kos, the campaign resulted in more than 850 calls to Congress. Click here to view the call center and script.
  • In September 2016, EPI’s Vice President Ross Eisenbrey and Senior Economist Robert Scott were named to Politico’s “Top 50” list of the most influential individuals in 2016. Click here to read Politico’s piece about Ross Eisenbrey’s leadership on overtime reform. Click here to read how Robert E. Scott directly challenged Donald Trump’s use of Scott’s research on trade agreements.
  • In November 2016, Sen. Bob Casey Jr. (D-Penn.) cited EPI research on wage stagnation during the Joint Economic Committee’s hearing on the U.S. economic outlook with Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen.
  • On December 1, 2016, EPI Vice President Ross Eisenbrey spoke at an overtime press conference on Capitol Hill with Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), and many others.

EPI provides vital tools for organizational allies

We get our research into the hands of those who use it through a wide network of researchers and scholars at top universities, our Economic Analysis and Research Network (EARN), and strong partnerships with similarly committed foundations, unions, and advocacy organizations. In 2016, we added 59,377 engaged individuals to our email list, growing it by 71 percent, to end the year at more than 142,000 subscribers.

Here are some of the groups we worked with in 2016:

ACLU /AFL-CIO / Alliance for American Manufacturing / Alliance for Justice / Alliance for Retired Americans / American Constitution Society / American Federation of Teachers / Americans for Financial Reform / Americans for Tax Fairness / American Sustainable Business Council / Blue Green Alliance / Business for a Fair Minimum Wage / Center on Budget and Policy Priorities / Center for American Progress / Center for Community Change / Center on Economic and Policy Research / Center for Law and Social Policy / Center for Popular Democracy / Center for Progressive Reform / The Century Foundation / Centro de Derechos del Migrante / Change to Win / Coalition on Human Needs / Demos / Family Values @ Work / Farmworker Justice / Fight for $15 / Food Research and Action Center / Good Jobs First / Good Jobs Nation / Global Policy Solutions / Global Workers Justice Alliance / Institute for Women’s Policy Research / International Labor Recruitment Working Group / Jobs With Justice / Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights / Make it Work Campaign / MomsRising / MoveOn.org / NAACP / National Council of Jewish Women / National Council of La Raza / National Domestic Workers Alliance / National Education Association / National Employment Law Project / National Employment Lawyers Association / National Guestworker Alliance / National Partnership for Women and Families / National People’s Action / National Women’s Law Center/ Oxfam America / Progressive Congress / Public Citizen / Restaurant Opportunities Centers United / Service Employees International Union / Social Security Works / The Century Foundation / The Fairness Project / United Auto Workers / United Food and Commercial Workers / Washington Center for Equitable Growth / Working America / Working Families Party

EPI’s unique partnerships with these organizations are essential to our continued success. Our partners help to disseminate and draw attention to our work, which gives us a much larger impact on the policy process. Indeed, these partnerships have helped make possible all the political achievements noted here.

In addition, EPI equips its local, state and national allies with accessible data and accompanying technical assistance for their campaigns to increase wages and boost living standards for low- and middle-income workers. In 2016 and the first six months of 2017, EPI produced state-by-state numbers for local and state activists, including:

EPI also maintains and updates its Family Budgets Calculator, which is used by advocates working a range of social and economic justice issues. The Calculator continues to be the most popular piece of content on EPI’s web site.

EPI also provided data directly to:

  • The Four successful ballot campaigns to increase the minimum wage last November;
  • The successful campaigns to make work schedules fairer in New York City, Seattle and San Jose; and,
  • The successful fight to stop the so-called Right to Work law in New Hampshire.