Orange County labor movement pushes back against persistent gender wage gap

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March 8 is well-known world-wide as International Women’s Day. The recognition presents us an opportunity to have enjoyable the contributions of women in every topic of human endeavor all through the globe. International Women’s Day will also be a day to reflect about how loads work lies ahead sooner than the dream of equality may be completely realized by better than one-half of our nation’s inhabitants.

The working men and women who comprise the labor movement persistently switch the needle in the direction of monetary justice. Yet whatever the efforts of tens of tens of millions of devoted Americans, the numbers keep grim. Across the board, girls make solely 80 cents for every dollar an individual makes. For girls of color, it’s even worse. African American girls make solely 61 cents of that dollar and Latina girls make solely 53 cents. This important pay disparity doesn’t merely harm girls, it extends to those children, dad and mother, and completely different relations who depend on them economically. Forty-two % of working girls inside the United States are the one breadwinner for his or her households.

Despite its vibrant monetary system and relative wealth, Orange County mirrors this disturbing nationwide bias. A few years previously an audit carried out by the State of California revealed that Orange County authorities had the widest gender pay gap of the 4 large counties studied. The report confirmed that ladies working for the county earn on frequent 27 % decrease than male county workers.

At the present Orange County Women’s March, labor icon Dolores Huerta challenged the viewers by telling them, “We are marching for the future of our children, and we are marching for the future of the United States of America. I think it’s about time that the U.S. Senate ratify the Equal Rights Amendment for women!” Many of those gathered understood that that they had been all most likely victims of gender pay inequity and vowed to downside the established order.

Decades of experience have taught us that we’ll’t merely sit back and hope our approved or political system will defend the rights of working girls – and males – to low cost for sincere wages and workplace dignity. That’s course of is mainly left to working people, usually by their labor unions, not merely on International Woman’s Day nevertheless every day.

Across our nation workers inside the labor movement these days proceed to paved the best way to pay equity. Often that’s by negotiating contracts that secure vital wage will enhance and protections in occupations the place girls in female-dominated job classifications work under harsh conditions for poverty-level pay. Locally, Unite Here Local 11 these days negotiated contracts for native lodge workers that not solely current vital wage will enhance, nevertheless add workplace safety protections for workers harassed or in another case mistreated on the job.

The strike in January by the United Teachers of Los Angeles observed 32,000 educators stroll off the job inside the Los Angeles Unified School District. Marching and holding rallies in a persistent rain, the teachers – most of them girls – fought not only for long-overdue pay will enhance nevertheless for additional counselors, school nurses and smaller class sizes, which all straight revenue faculty college students and promote prime quality education.

Bargaining for greater wages for working girls in underpaid jobs is just one part of the work labor unions and their members do to cope with the gender pay gap. Last yr, AB 168 was handed inside the legislature and signed by Governor Brown, prohibiting employers and recruiters from in search of wage historic previous information from or about an applicant, or relying upon that information to find out whether or not or to not hire and the best way loads to pay an applicant. This new regulation addresses the damaging monetary penalties which occur when a woman’s lower pay follows her by each stage of her occupation. OCEA supported AB 168 and might proceed to battle pay inequity – inside the county, in Sacramento and on the bargaining desk.

It’s been better than 55-years since John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act inside the Oval Office flanked by dozens of devoted female activists.

Just as a result of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 didn’t stop discrimination based mostly totally on race, the Equal Pay Act could not completely cope with our nation’s systemic pay bias against girls.

Labor unions proceed to push for secure paid family and medical go away, paid sick days and – most importantly – defending every worker’s correct to collectively low cost. That’s our nation’s best chance to erase the pay gap and end the cycle of poverty we have established for generations of working girls and their households.

Charles Barfield is frequent supervisor of the Orange County Employees Association

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