By Mary Kay Henry
Service Employees International Union
If 2012 was the year of the woman, 2013 is the year of the working mom. And that's why I'm headed to California.
Last week, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi along with Reps. DeLauro, Matsui and other women leaders announced a new Women's Economic Agenda, built on three key pillars for driving women's economic advancement: 1) equal pay for equal work, 2) work-family balance, including paid sick leave and a livable minimum wage, and 3) access to quality, affordable child care.
By Duane Campbell
On March 20, 2013, Dolores Huerta will be inducted into the California Hall of Fame for her lifelong contributions to labor and community leadership. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012.
Huerta has contributed to movements for union rights and social justice since the founding - along with Cesar Chaves, Philip Vera Cruz and others - of the United Farm Workers (UFW) union and continues through her current work in supporting union democracy, civic engagement and empowerment of women and youth in disadvantaged communities. The creation of the UFW changed the nature of labor organizing in the Southwest and contributed significantly to the growth of Latino politics in the U.S.
By John MacMurray
One lesson this past election taught us was that there are a lot of men in this country who seem to think that women, collectively and individually, are not very smart.
Not smart enough to be hold public office, not smart enough to have a career without a man's help, and not even smart enough to know how their own bodies work unless men explain it to them.
This being their case, let's walk these gentlemen through an entire day where they won't have to have anything to do with stuff invented by "gur-ruls."
By Rev. Jim Conn
Despite the conventional wisdom that Southern California only has one season, some wag suggested it does indeed have four: Fires, floods, earthquakes and riots. So far this year we've had none of those, for which I am grateful, and I hope our luck holds.
I say luck because Los Angeles County leads the state in fire risk. Of the million homes in California in high-risk fire areas, half are in our county. Seven of the 10 most expensive fires in the U.S. since 1990 have been in California, and insurers paid some $5 billion in wildfire claims in 2003, 2007 and 2008.
By Joe Simitian
Everywhere there are campaigns with pink ribbons. People march in pink T-shirts. Baseball players hit with pink bats. These campaigns to save our mothers, sisters and wives from breast cancer have had great success in increasing awareness and in raising funds for a cure.
As a result, most women know they need to get regular mammograms as they get older. Yet surprisingly few of them are aware of a widespread condition that raises the risk of breast cancer and makes it harder to detect.
The condition is dense breast tissue. Although 40 percent of women tested by mammograms have dense breast tissue, a recent survey found that fewer than 10 percent of women are aware of their breast density. To spread the word, and to encourage women to talk to their doctors, the Legislature has declared Aug. 8 “Are You Dense? Day.” Women need this essential knowledge to make informed decisions about their health.
By Radhika Raman
Campaign for America’s Future
Senate Republicans voted yesterday to block the Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 3220), yet another petty political move designed to stick it to the Democrats and eject President Obama from the White House.
Let’s be honest though - it isn’t some Democratic senator on the Hill who is going to feel the effects of this block. Not even Barack Obama himself will directly feel the effects of the Republican Party’s refusal to address important issues such as pay equity. It is ordinary working families who will be hit hardest by this latest example of Republicans turning a blind eye to issues that affect working Americans the most.
The Paycheck Fairness Act prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who discuss their salaries with their colleagues, closes loopholes in the Equal Pay Act, rewards employers who have fair and equitable pay practices, and helps small businesses adopt equal pay policies.
By Elena Shore
New America Media
A new report by the Pew Hispanic Center documents a trend that reporters have been covering anecdotally for several years: we are now seeing net-zero immigration from Mexico to the United States.
The factors that may have contributed to this change – high U.S. unemployment, a Mexican economy that is recovering more rapidly, a low Mexican birthrate, and increased immigration enforcement – all point in one direction: The number of people moving to Mexico from the United States is equal to -- or greater than -- the number of people coming into the country from Mexico.
But with a record number of state and local laws cracking down on undocumented immigrants, this hardly means an end to the anti-immigrant sentiment that has taken root in America.
By Kelly Rivas
On Saturday, April 28, 2012, in cities and Capitols across America, a new and growing movement will march and rally to Unite Against the War on Women. April 28th will be a day for Americans to loudly denounce the ongoing attacks on women from the extreme right as well as to honor the diversity and continued fight for the freedom of women.
All across the country, through legislative proposals, government regulations, and political rhetoric, a war is being waged against women, our bodies, our rights and our freedom. Arizona is making the use of birth control without employer permission a fire worthy offense. Birth control is covered in 28 states, Viagra is covered in all 50. Rape victims must undergo vaginal probing before seeking an abortion in TX and PA and last year, Topeka, Kansas decriminalized domestic violence. Currently over 400 similar bills are being considered federally and within states including the current debate on the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (S. 1925) in the U.S. Senate.
By Kati Loy
Yesterday was International Women’s Day, so we thought we’d mark the occasion by sharing a few of the great historical victories that union women have achieved. Here’s a list of empowered American women who have made a difference by fighting for their rights on the job.
#1 The Lowell Mill Girls (“Turn-out” of 1836)
Did you know that one of the first labor strikes in U.S. history was in an almost all female workplace? In Lowell, MA in 1836, the women workers of the Lowell Textile mills called for a “turnout” at their factory in response to rent hikes (essentially a pay deduction), and successfully forced their employer to rescind the hikes. Historians note that the women who worked in the plant were among the first women to ever speak in public in Lowell, and caused quite a scandal.
By Robert Cruickshank
The war on women comes to California as Jennifer Kerns, the new communications director for the California Republican Party, unleashed a brutal twitter attack on former Democratic congressional candidate Krystal Ball for defending a woman's right to birth control:
Stripper, or strategist? Democrat strategist on MSNBC raging against Limbaugh, her name is supposedly "Krystal Ball." Speaking of #sluts...
And in case the Tweets get taken down, here's a screenshot (via Lisa McIntire):