February 13, 2024

Warren, Markey Call on Labor Department to More Closely Track Nonprofit Workers’ Employment Data

Despite 10% of Workforce in Nonprofits, Nonprofit Employment and Wage is Not Tracked in Quarterly Workforce Data, Keeping Nonprofit, Business, and Government Leaders in the Dark

Text of Letter (PDF)

Washington, D.C. – United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) sent a letter to Acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su, and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Shalanda Young, urging the Department of Labor (DOL) to incorporate nonprofit workforce data into the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW). The senators are urging DOL to include $4 million in its Fiscal Year 2025 budget request to track this data in the QCEW. 

“The QCEW is an essential tool for policymakers and businesses across nearly every industry, covering nearly 95 percent of American jobs.  Every quarter, it provides an accounting of employment and wages across the economy and catalogs data for specific sectors. QCEW-generated data provides industry leaders and public officials with vital information to make business and economic policy decisions. However, the QCEW reports do not disaggregate nonprofit workforce data, despite the roughly 10 percent of American workers—almost 17 percent in Massachusetts—who work for a nonprofit,” wrote the senators. 

The senators noted that BLS has an important role as the only independent statistical agency that objectively and accurately measures labor market activity, and is crucial to informed policymaking and business decisions. However, BLS’s budget has not kept up with inflation, forcing the agency to cut key products and reduce the scope of others, like the QCEW. 

Instead of tracking nonprofit employment and wage data in the QCEW, BLS issues a separate nonprofit report roughly every five years, leaving nonprofit leaders and policymakers to make decisions with data that no longer reflect the reality of the economy, and presenting a significant barrier to accurate and effective policymaking and sector planning. 

Given these concerns, the senators are urging DOL to request additional funds in its upcoming budget request to add nonprofit data to future QCEW reports. 

Senator Warren is an outspoken advocate for worker’s rights: 

  • In June 2023, Senators Warren and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) launched an investigation into 23 companies that appear to have committed wage theft by denying low-wage workers overtime pay by abusing the label “manager.” The senators sent letters to 23 companies identified in a recent report as having the highest proportion of positions used to strategically avoid paying workers overtime
  • In April 2023, Senators Warren and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Representatives Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), Annie Kuster (D-N.H.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), and Don Beyer (D-Va.) led over 60 of their colleagues in a letter to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chair Lina Khan, urging the agency to move forward with their proposed rule banning noncompete agreements to give approximately 30 million Americans the opportunity to change jobs and create new businesses.
  • In May 2023, Senators Warren and Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) and Representative Nikema Williams (D-Ga.) reintroduced the Sunlight in Workplace Harassment Act, legislation to require large, public corporations to publicly report all settlements and judgments related to incidents of discrimination, harassment, and sexual abuse each year.
  • In March 2023, Senators Warren and Brown sent a letter to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and Sodexo Group to express support for the food service workers of UNITE HERE Local 100 as they begin contract negotiations.
  • In February 2023, Senators Warren and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) sent a letter to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce calling out the organization for its opposition to the Federal Trade Commission’s proposed rule that would ban employers’ use of noncompete agreements. The senators are calling on the Chamber to explain why it is undermining its stated values by opposing this business-, worker-, and consumer-friendly policy. 
  • In February 2023, Senators Warren, Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) pushed for accountability in a letter to Kroger, after its shift to a new payroll system left thousands of workers across the country short on their paychecks. They pressed the grocery giant on how it will compensate impacted workers and whether the potential Kroger-Albertsons merger would worsen mistreatment of workers.
  • In January 2023, Senators Warren and Representative Cori Bush (D-Mo.) wrote to the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division in support of its October proposed rule on employee status which would help reclassify potentially thousands of misclassified workers.
  • In October 2022, Senators Warren, Sanders, Markey, and Blumenthal blasted Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz for the company’s union-busting campaign, including its ongoing and illegal weaponization of benefits against unionizing workers. 
  • In June 2022, Senators Warren and Markey and Representative Garcia introduced the Good Jobs for Good Airports Act, legislation that would provide airport workers with the pay, benefits, and labor standards they deserve after serving on the frontlines of the nation’s aviation system and keeping airports safe through a global pandemic.
  • In June 2022, Senators Warren, Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and Sanders and Representatives Bush and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) wrote to Amazon’s President and CEO, demanding answers about the company’s proposed worker chat application, which reportedly would ban workers from using certain words and phrases, restricting their ability to discuss their working conditions and basic legal rights, including unionization. 
  • In May 2022, Senators Warren and Representatives Bush and Ocasio-Cortez wrote Amazon’s Executive Chairman, Jeff Bezos blasting the company for its failure to answer their questions about policies that led to the collapse of an Amazon warehouse in Edwardsville, Illinois, which killed six workers. 
  • In February 2022, Senator Warren and Representatives Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), and Katie Porter (D-Calif.) announced the introduction of the Part-Time Worker Bill of Rights Act. The legislation would strengthen protections for part-time workers and allow them to better balance their work schedules with personal and family needs.