Equal Pay Day a union reminder

It’s hard to believe it’s that time of year again. Many of you will remember it because we’re a week away from the deadline to file income tax returns. If you’re a woman, however, you might remember it because, for all of your working life it’s been the day to mark how long you have to work to catch up to a man’s  earnings. So Equal Pay Day in 2014 — which was Tuesday of this week — marks the day you catch up to a man’s pay from  2013.

Equal Pay Day is a stark reminder of the bottom line.  The Coalition for Labor Union Women, the only national organization specifically for women union members, reports that there has been no improvement in 10 years: Women are still paid 77 cents for every dollar paid to a man.
How is this wrong still lingering?
CLUW has been working with many allies to urge passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would update the Equal Pay Act of 1963. Visit their site to learn more and take quick action to call your U.S. senator.
Being a working woman is just one of many good reasons to belong to a union. In a union, your wages in a specific category are the same for male or female. According to the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C., being a member of a union raises women’s wages by nearly 13 percent compared to their nonunion sisters. That’s an average of $222 more a week. Meanwhile, unionized women of color earn almost 35 percent more than nonunion women.
Interfaith Worker Justice puts it plainly: “Workers, through their unions, have been the prime movers in winning the eight-hour day, overtime pay, the Family and Medical Leave Act, Occupational Safety and Health Act, Americans with Disabilities Act and most other reforms that protect average working families.”
Many American workers are in jobs that do not pay enough to support their families and/or in jobs that expose workers to hazardous working conditions or disregard families’ need for sick days.
Think again about why unions matter.

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