The U.S. job market is slowly picking up and stock prices are rising for Wall Street, but poor people and the middle-class haven’t fully recovered from the economic gut punch of the recession.

For social justice advocates like Kentucky Jobs With Justice Executive Director Bonafacio ‘Flaco’ Aleman, raising wages and other protections for American workers is just as important as job creation.

“I think that historically poor people have always gotten the short end of the stick,” he says.

Though the national unemployment rate is down to 7.6 percent and has dropped in most states, those once middle-class occupations are being replaced with low-wage jobs.

It’s one of the reasons President Obama’s department of labor has been on tour to pressure Congress to lift the minimum wage to $9 an hour. But opponents argue those measure only hamper small businesses and actually lock poor people out of job opportunities.

Whether it’s backing comprehensive immigration reform or opposing “right to work” legislation, Aleman’s activism isn’t without a fierce debate.

Aleman dropped by to discuss those topics as well as his organization’s lobbying of the Louisville Metro Council to pass a “ban the box” and Friendly City ordinance.